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Boots and PDA make final pledges as ballot papers posted

PDA Union: Boots' pledge to launch alternative representation is a distraction
PDA Union: Boots' pledge to launch alternative representation is a distraction

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) and Boots have made their final pledges as ballot papers to decide how Boots pharmacists’ will be represented are sent out today.

Boots pharmacists have until March 8 to cast their vote to decide if their pay, hours and holiday will be collectively negotiated by the PDA Union, following last year’s “derecognition” of Boots’ own union – the Boots Pharmacists’ Association.

The ballot marks the final stages of the long-running dispute, which dates back to 2012, when the PDA Union called for official recognition from Boots, after alleging the multiple's staff employment terms were being “gradually eroded”.

PDA Union national officer Paul Day told C+D this morning (February 18) if pharmacists vote to recognise the union, it would be “different from anything that has happened at Boots before”.

The PDA Union has pledged to “serve pharmacists and make things better for them”. As well as negotiating their pay, holiday and “other matters”, the union will appoint a network of health and safety officers to address issues such as pharmacist stress and support those with poor mental health, he added.

Any Boots pharmacists who choose to have the PDA Union represent them “get the legal protection of being a trade union representative, and they’ll have the time and support that the law gives them”, Mr Day said.

“It’s a completely different game to all the internal mechanisms that Boots has used over the years,” he claimed.

Boots: “We’re stronger talking directly to each other”

Boots UK pharmacy director Richard Bradley told C+D the “best way” the multiple can “create more clinical opportunities” for pharmacists “is by having a direct relationship with our pharmacists, and making sure all our pharmacists’ voices are fairly and equally represented”.

“We hope as many [Boots pharmacists] as possible will take the time to consider the options in front of them and agree we’re stronger talking directly to each other, rather than through a third party that will slow us down and add extra complexity to our business,” Mr Bradley added.

“Joint negotiation committee”

Boots announced earlier this month (February 6) it would launch a “joint negotiation committee” as alternative representation for its pharmacists if they vote to reject the PDA Union.

The committee would have full negotiation rights, including on strategy, pay, hours and holiday, and will be made up of regional representatives elected annually, the multiple said.

“We’ve listened to and know pharmacists want change at Boots. They want a greater voice and say on issues that relate to their pay, but also want a say in the future direction of pharmacy,” Mr Bradley told C+D.

“That’s why if pharmacists vote ‘no’, we’re proposing the Boots joint negotiating committee – a new body with elected representatives and an independent chair – and we have also offered consultative seats to members of both the PDA Union and the BPA,” he added.

The PDA claimed it has already received complaints from Boots pharmacists that the committee proposal shows “total disregard for their previous vote”.

“There are only two outcomes”

Mr Day said the “important” detail about the ballot is that “there are only two outcomes”. Either pharmacists “recognise the PDA Union” or they “can’t start the process again for another three years”, he said.

Boots’ proposal to launch the “joint negotiation committee” is a “ complete distraction”, Mr Day told C+D.

“That is not what is on the ballot. The ballot is simply to recognise the PDA Union or be blocked for another three years.”

11 Comments
Question: 
Will you be taking part in the ballot?

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

This whole sorry saga pretty much encapsulates community pharmacy. Absolutely tragic.

Michael Parker,

 

I just reiterate my previous comments, on the Joint Negotiation Committe article .................

Time maybe for me to out myself as one of the original 6 that helped initiate the original BPA derecognition vote. Although I have now left the Company through retirement I still follow the proceedings with interest. The twists and turns make Brexit seem simple !

 

To my former colleagues that read this I urge you all to use your vote and not let this opportunity slip away. To those who think it’s too late as all the benefits have been stripped away anyway, I will just say all my years working in Pharmacy have taught me you never know what the future holds, though concerns around remote supervision, robotic dispensing, and other cost cutting measures (wasn’t it three billion savings over next three years?) immediately spring to mind.

 

Please for your sakes, not mine, vote wisely.

 

C A, Community pharmacist

“We hope as many [Boots pharmacists] as possible will take the time to consider the options in front of them and agree we’re stronger talking directly to each other, rather than through a third party that will slow us down and add extra complexity to our business,” Mr Bradley added.

Does Mr Bradley not see the reason why a union should be a third party? Are there any other unions that are owned by the parent company? USDAW? BMA? BDA? EIS? NASUWT? 

 

"Boots announced earlier this month (February 6) it would launch a “joint negotiation committee” as alternative representation for its pharmacists if they vote to reject the PDA Union." 

Mixed message since this sounds like a third party. Or is it only supposed to seem like a third party? when in reality it will have all the independance of the BPA?

Richard MacLeavy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

 

I can't understand what Richard Bradley is saying. First he says "we’re stronger talking directly to each other, rather than through a third party that will slow us down and add extra complexity to our business,” then he goes onto suggest that Boots will create a (so say) independant Joint negotitiation committee in order to replicate an official union and act as a third party in negotitaions. He is surely contradicting himself? 

Its clear that Boots have no coherient proposals and whatever mock committee they assemble offers no where near the benefits of an official union, especially the PDA who are an exceptionally good union. Boots are simply trying anything possible to stop proper union recognition, because they do not value pharmacists, or their interests in the way that the PDA does. 

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

The ballot marks the final stages of the long-running dispute, which dates back to 2012...there you have it - the chance in a generation to vote for change.

Don't let it slip through your fingers.

C A, Community pharmacist

Don't pull a Scottish Independance Referendum or EU Referendum! If you are eligible VOTE!

Pharmacy Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

At last a serious chance for pharmacists to have their say!! Vote, Vote, Vote, do not waste this chance. It’s an opportunity to make things change for all pharmacists in the future. I wish Boots could have listened to 2800 of their pharmacists before and it would not have come to this. 

Graham Turner, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Boots must be bricking it. But if they had treated their pharmacists properly in the first place, then none of this would have been necessary.

Any Boots pharmacists who don't recognise the PDA must be absolutely insane (and should therefore refer themselves to the GPhC on the grounds of poor health). The PDA cares about you and will help you. Not sure the same can be said about this employer.

How can such a big company with such a long history treat the very professionals essential to it's business with such disadain and contempt? It's utterly disgusting. Boots wouldn't exist without pharmacists, yet they treat their staff like a cancerous growth. The founders of Boots would no doubt be turning in their grave to see how the company now treats employees.

Real companies recognise the sacrifices and hard-work of their staff, they don't pinch every penny to give to the CEO and and continuously flog them to produce more and more and more all the time. I wonder how many ex-Boots pharmacists are now on anti-depressants? Even Russian gulags gave inmates proper breaks.

Pharmacy Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I hope Lloyds are next they are worse!!! 

Graham Turner, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

There certainly are some extremely poor employers out there.

Saddened Old Timer, Community pharmacist

So, the time has arrived for Boots pharmacists to have the chance to vote to have pdau representation! I really hope they vote in favour as Boots promises to them not to vote will just be smoke and mirrors yet again. Boots do not want to listen to their pharmacists and take positive action on the things that concern them. They haven’t done it since Stefano took over and they won’t now unless the pdau get a yes vote. Boots say they’re not ‘anti - union’ but every word they speak and every action they take says otherwise. Encourage every Boots pre reg and pharmacist to vote yes, it won’t just help them hopefully it’ll have a positive effect for the rest of us too . 

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