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Up to 1,700 Boots pharmacists may face threat of dismissal

The PDA Union became aware late last week of a disturbing development following the recent Employment Tribunal judgement which determined that Boots Management Services had acted unlawfully last year when the company slashed premium pay for long serving pharmacists by 25%

Thu 7th June 2012 PDA Union

A number of PDA Union members have reported that they have been required to attend “informal meetings” at very short notice with senior company managers. In these meetings pharmacists are being pressurised into agreeing to the lower premium rates, with the threat that if they do not agree within seven days, they will be dismissed from their employment.

General Secretary of the PDA Union, John Murphy, comments:

“I am astonished at the behaviour of Boots. The company now appears to be engaging in intimidatory¬†tactics to force through changes which have been judged to be unlawful by the court. This fresh attempt to legitimise the pay cuts exposes the company to claims of victimisation and bullying, particularly because there are outstanding claims for age and sex discrimination to be heard.”

Boots managers are also approaching pharmacists who did not participate in the original tribunal claim in order to pressurise them into accepting the lower rates of premium pay. Solicitors working for the PDA Union believe this fresh strategy is not only fundamentally unfair but also places pharmacists under duress and has been rushed through to take advantage of the Jubilee holiday period, when independent legal advice is more difficult to obtain.

Following the legal ruling and in order to minimise the potential for further staff disputes, it is likely that Boots Management Services will also need to approach all 1,700 pharmacists who were originally entitled to the higher rates of premium pay, with the same threat of dismissal unless agreement is reached. This is because the legal ruling has improved the chances of other affected pharmacists making similar claims, even if they were not part of the original proceedings.

The implications for pharmacists at this stage are unclear and the PDA Union will be issuing further advice shortly. In the meantime we are advising pharmacists not to agree to revised terms or sign new statements of particulars without seeking legal advice.

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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