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March 2025 hearing set for former Lloydspharmacy staff redundancy row

Former Sainsbury’s workers claiming enhanced redundancy from the Lloydspharmacy estate will have their case heard in March 2025, despite a possible victory offering “no realistic hope” of full compensation.

Pharmacists involved in a legal dispute with Lloydspharmacy over their entitlement to enhanced redundancy benefits will have their case heard on March 17 2025, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) revealed yesterday (April 18).

But Lloydspharmacy’s liquidation, announced in January, all-but guarantees that claimants in the dispute have “no realistic hope” of receiving anything more than “a very small fraction” of a potential compensation award, a letter from PDA director of defence services Mark Pitt said.

Read more: ‘No realistic prospect’ of proper payout in Lloydspharmacy redundancy row

Nevertheless, he added that there is a “strong feeling” among claimants that Lloydspharmacy should be held “to account for the loss of their enhanced redundancy entitlement”.

The PDA said that it would continue to support its members in the hearing, owing to the “large number of members” involved and because it has already incurred “the great majority” of legal expenses for the case.

 

Four-day hearing

 

After a delayed preliminary hearing on April 2, a tribunal judge allocated four days to the final hearing that will take place on March 17 2025, it added.

And it said that Lloydspharmacy’s liquidator Turpin Barker Armstrong is expected to call “the grievance manager, the appeal manager and a representative from Sainsbury’s” as its witnesses.

The PDA said that a “union official” would serve as witness for the claimants alongside a “lead claimant”, adding that it is also “exploring” calling a witness from Sainsbury's.

Read more: Former owner bags £415m dividend from Lloydspharmacy and LloydsDirect sales

In February, the PDA revealed that the now-defunct multiple’s liquidators confirmed that Lloydspharmacy did not have business indemnity insurance in place that would have covered any successful compensation claims.

It estimated at the time that any successful tribunal award would “only be able to recover in the region of two pence for every £10 awarded”.

In July, C+D reported that “almost 100” former Lloydspharmacy workers in Sainsbury’s stores were headed to court in an effort to access enhanced redundancy benefits. 

Read more: UPDATED: PDA begins legal process in ex-Lloydspharmacy staff employment row

The action came after internal recourse for the workers had been exhausted, with the company ruling that the workers “do not have a contractual right” to enhanced redundancy payments and confirmed that it would instead offer only statutory benefits.

The workers were transferred from Sainsbury’s to Lloydspharmacy in 2016 under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE).

But when they were made redundant by Lloydspharmacy after the multiple elected to shut all of its 237 branches in Sainsbury’s stores, they only received statutory redundancy benefits - “the bare minimum…in law” - rather than the enhanced redundancy benefits that they were entitled to as Sainsbury’s employees, according to the PDA.

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