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New pharmacist contract ‘in effect an increase in pay’, Asda says

Asda’s full-time salaried pharmacists will work one hour less a week for the same salary, the multiple has told C+D.

Asda’s full-time salaried pharmacists will have “no reduction in pay” despite working fewer hours under a new contract structure proposal, an Asda spokesperson told C+D today (June 20).

Read more: Asda pays pharmacists incentive to accept reduced hours

Under the proposals for a new company-wide pharmacist contract, exclusively revealed by C+D yesterday (June 19), salaried pharmacists on full-time contracts will now work 44-hour weeks, down from 45 hours per week, according to the spokesperson.

They stressed that this new structure “is in effect an increase in pay” as they "will still be paid for 45 hours".


Amending shift patterns


The proposal’s core purpose is to “amend shift patterns” so that there are more people available during the pharmacy’s busiest hours, according to the spokesperson.

With the multiple’s new pharmacy opening hours, Asda has “pharmacists who are working shifts when the pharmacy is closed” under the current system, they said.

Read more: Asda pharmacy set to close amid drop in footfall and locum ‘staffing gaps’

Asda’s “hourly-paid pharmacy colleagues” will see "no change" to their terms or conditions except that they will now report to the newly created “practice manager role”, they added.

Hourly workers will “also have the development opportunity of training” as an accuracy checking dispensing assistant (ACDA), another new role that will pay £1 more an hour, they told C+D.


"Not a formal process"


C+D yesterday learned that all 399 of Asda’s current pharmacists will be asked to “work compressed contracted hours” and “fewer days” in new “voluntary” contracts.

Pharmacists that accept the new contract will receive a one-off “pharmacist payment”, a spokesperson for Asda confirmed.

Read more: Asda joins forces with Pharmacy2U to launch ‘online prescription service’

According to documents seen by C+D, Asda area managers will meet with the supermarket chain’s pharmacists to have “conversations about voluntary movement” onto a new contract beginning this month, with the aim to complete the “changes” by September.

Asda has “not consulted anybody yet as this is not a formal process”, the spokesperson reiterated today.

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