Mark Koziol has again criticised the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) lack of action to protect the interests of Boots pharmacists, and said it is "vital" to continue to “hold [the multiple] to account over its business behaviours and its treatment of pharmacists”.
Mr Koziol described the negative coverage in the Guardian in 2016 – which he said "exposed unacceptable working conditions and the impact it has on patients” – as “shameful” for the profession. Boots said at the time it did "not recognise" the claims.
“However, even after strong views were expressed by MPs in parliament about the need for regulatory action, the GPhC, a body established to protect the interests of the public, has refused to take appropriate action against Boots, claiming that the GPhC is only peripheral to the issue of working environments,” Mr Koziol stressed.
The GPhC declined to comment on Mr Koziol's statement.
PDA Union seeks "formal recognition"
Mr Koziol was reacting to the Court of Appeal’s decision last Friday (February 10) in the long-running legal case between the PDA Union and Boots, which upheld a High Court decision that Boots’ refusal to formally recognise the union was lawful.
The PDA Union claims the multiple's employees are tired of their employment terms being "gradually eroded", and has applied to have formal recognition at Boots.
Mr Koziol said the Court of Appeal had “clarified” that the “only way” Boots pharmacists can have their pay, hours and holiday collectively negotiated by the PDA Union, is to have Boots’ own union, the Boots Pharmacists’ Association (BPA), “derecognised”.
Although this is “not our preferred outcome…Boots has invested significant resources to try and keep the PDA Union away from its pharmacist employment conditions", Mr Koziol said.
“In the absence of any effective intervention from the regulator, a collective bargaining agreement held by the [PDA Union] is now the only practical way for Boots pharmacists to have their interests protected.”
A spokesperson for the BPA said the union “notes with interest” the Court of Appeal’s decision, and “both Boots and the PDA Union will undoubtedly need to consider the outcomes of the decision and what this means for them”.
"BPA has its members' interests at its heart, and continues to champion the role and contribution of Boots pharmacists, and represent the views of our members in our regular dialogue with the Boots executives," they added.