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Boots ‘disappointed’ by PDA Union members' rejection of pay proposal

Boots is “disappointed” by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union members' decision to turn down a proposal comprising what the multiple has dubbed a “substantial pay and development package”, a spokesperson has told C+D.

The PDA Union announced late last week (October 22) that Boots pharmacists had rejected the multiple’s offer of what the union referred to as a 2% pay rise

A spokesperson for the multiple told C+D on Saturday (October 23) that its pay increase proposal, “weighted towards pharmacists at the start of their career, exceeds the PDA Union’s aggregate request”.

Boots will also offer pharmacists a year-end bonus payment in November, the spokesperson said. The “substantial” pay and development package “directly addresses the key areas raised” by the PDA Union, they added.

“Over the course of the last five years, we have awarded overall pay rises to our pharmacists that have exceeded the consumer price index as well as paying bonuses to them in the majority of those years,” the spokesperson said.


PDA: Be flexible as we “move closer to industrial action”


However, PDA Union director Paul Day told C+D today (October 25) that Boots’ offer does not meet the union members’ terms.

Boots’ overall 3.25% pay increase package is “weighted” towards newer pharmacists, which means that most pharmacists employed by Boots would receive “only a sub-inflationary increase of just 2%” under the terms of the proposed deal, “reducing the purchasing power of their pay”, Mr Day said. 

“We’re asking the company [to] turn the 3.25% costs they claim they are already committed to into a flat percentage increase for everyone,” he stated.

Mr Day said he hopes that talks facilitated by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service – an independent public body that offers advice to employers and employees – will help “reach an agreement, otherwise we move close[r] to industrial action”.

Boots remains “committed to reaching an agreement with the PDA Union”, the multiple's spokesperson added.


Protracted negotiations will delay pharmacists’ pay rise, Boots claimed


The spokesperson said Boots had been "extremely willing negotiating partners and have proactively engaged with the PDA Union and out pharmacists and will continue to do so".

“The longer this process continues, the longer our pharmacists have to wait for a pay rise,” the multiple’s spokesperson warned. 

“A salary increase was originally scheduled for November 2021, in line with the rest of the business, but has inevitably been delayed due to the protracted nature of these negotiations,” they said.


PDA: Pay should not reduce again


“The critical thing is that pharmacists’ pay should not reduce in real terms again”, Mr Day told C+D today. 

In a press release circulated on Friday evening, Mr Day said that “pharmacists’ pay at Boots has reduced in real terms for several years” while “shareholders of the parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance have continued to receive record levels of dividend”.

“It is time for Boots to recognise the significant contribution our members make to keeping the business successful while also delivering essential healthcare to the public,” Mr Day said, especially following the multiple’s 2020 pay freeze due to uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

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