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Home  »   Latest News   »   Two thirds of Boots’ pharmacists are now members of the PDA Union

Two thirds of Boots’ pharmacists are now members of the PDA Union

PDA Union membership at Boots is now at around two thirds of all pharmacists and continues to grow.

Fri 26th August 2022 The PDA

Pharmacists working at Boots won trade union recognition in 2019. The recognition campaign, at the largest single employer of pharmacists in the country, is still the only example in UK industrial relations history of a group of workers successfully ending an existing arrangement that management wanted to retain with a union that does not hold a certificate of independence, to be replaced with a relationship with the independent trade union.

After union recognition, several PDA members at Boots stepped forward to be trained as PDA Workplace representatives. The PDA Reps Network in Boots has since supported hundreds of individual pharmacists and groups of pharmacists at Boots to resolve workplace issues, such as disciplinary, grievance, redundancy, and TUPE transfers. Negotiators for the PDA Reps Network in Boots have also secured several pay settlements which have improved the overall pay for pharmacists and trainee pharmacists at the company.

Gordon Finlayson, PDA National Rep said, “The PDA Network of representatives in Boots ensure that the views and concerns of all Boots pharmacists are heard by those most senior in the company through regular Joint Consultative Committee Meetings.”

In addition, PDA Reps continue to work to settle individual member issues locally where possible and, where necessary, the PDA has also supported members in more serious claims, such as those which have been successful at tribunal.

A recent review of PDA membership density at Boots since gaining union recognition has identified that, over the last three years, pharmacists and trainees have continued to join the PDA. Membership of the PDA has now reached two-thirds of all pharmacists employed in the company’s branches.

Collette Bradford, PDA Director of Organising and Engagement said, “This increasing density of PDA membership (over 60%) compares very favourably with trade union density across the UK economy as a whole. Traditionally, public sector density (51%) is much higher than that in the private sector (12.9%), with PDA density in Boots being significantly higher than the average even in the public sector.”

This is a significant increase, and members tell the PDA that employees welcome the benefits of trade union recognition. With most pharmacists and trainee pharmacists that may become employed at Boots in the future already being members of the PDA, the professional unity of pharmacists working together as a trade union to improve their working lives and the pharmacy sector has the potential to strengthen even further.

Increased membership strengthens the union’s influence and ability to negotiate. The remaining third of employed pharmacists practising in the company’s branches are actively invited to join their colleagues in the PDA.

Collette Bradford also said, “If you are a pharmacist or a trainee pharmacist and not yet a member of the PDA, now is the time to join us and join in and ask your colleagues to do the same.”

PDA members at some other employers, most notably LloydsPharmacy, have followed the example of pharmacists at Boots and also secured union recognition with their employer where they too represent pharmacists and negotiate pay and terms and conditions. Trade union representatives have certain rights and legal protection which enable them to undertake their roles.

Pharmacists who would like to work together to improve their working lives and see the PDA union recognised at their workplace should do the following:

  • Talk to colleagues, pharmacists, and trainees and encourage non-members to join the PDA.
  • Non-pharmacist colleagues can be encouraged to join appropriate trade unions for their roles.
  • Consider who will volunteer to be trained as a PDA Representative and subsequently build a network to represent colleagues, as recognition requires at least one representative inside the organisation.
  • Establish how many people are employed by the employer, how many are pharmacists, and how many of those are PDA members.
  • Contact the PDA Organising & Engagement team for further information and support.

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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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