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High Court blow for PDA in Boots recognition battle

Business In the latest twist to the long-running legal battle, the High Court has ruled that Boots has no obligation to recognise the PDA Union

Boots has no obligation to recognise the Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) Union, the High Court has ruled, in the latest twist to the long-running legal battle.

The High Court threw out claims that Boots pharmacists should have the right to engage in collective bargaining through the PDA Union, in an interim decision announced yesterday (January 22).

The ruling marked a successful appeal for Boots against the Central Arbitration Committee's (CAC) decision last year to depart from existing UK legislation and accept the PDA Union's application. At the time, the CAC acknowledged that Boots' own union was unable to bargain on its pharmacists' pay, hours or holiday.

The High Court found that Boots' objection to the CAC's decision to accept the PDA Union's application was valid under UK law

More on the PDA Union case

PDA Union gets green light to pursue Boots recognition

Boots takes battle with PDA Union to High Court

Why Boots should recognise the PDA Union

The High Court decision, which found Boots' objection was valid under UK law, poses a fresh stumbling block for the PDA Union in its battle for recognition. It came despite the CAC's own decision this month (January 9) that the potential level of support for the union among Boots pharmacists was high enough to warrant recognition from the multiple.

Boots said the court's ruling would "clearly affect" the union's chances of success and reported that it was considering the implications.

The multiple stressed that it would remain committed to its pharmacists. "We want to continue to build great relationships between pharmacists, their line managers and their local team to create the best working environment and provide even better care for our patients," said a company spokesperson.

But the PDA Union claimed that the decision infringed European human rights legislation and denied Boots pharmacists a "true collective voice". "Boots are expending considerable amounts of time and money in order to prevent pharmacists from being able to negotiate their pay, hours and holidays through the PDA Union, even though the majority of Boots pharmacists are likely to support this," stressed the union's general secretary John Murphy.

Mr Murphy argued that the legal battle was significant for all community pharmacists, as the landscape had become "dominated by large multinational commercial organisations".

The union said it would now consider challenging the High Court's interim decision and pledged to continue its fight for recognition at the multiple.

Should Boots recognise the PDA Union?

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