Boots and the union Boots Pharmacy Association (BPA) have pledged to fight a ruling that has brought the PDA one step closer to formally representing the health and beauty giant's employees.
Boots said it would be reviewing the Central Arbitration Committee's (CAC) decision to accept the PDA's application, which could enable the union to eventually act on behalf of its members.
The BPA said it was extremely disappointed with the ruling by the government's statutory negotiator, as it urged pharmacists to join its own union so it could continue "to be their voice for the company and for the profession".
"We were disappointed that the company went to great lengths to prevent us from gaining recognition and we were left with no option [but] to make a formal application to the CAC" John Murphy, PDA
More on Boots and the PDA
The PDA made a request in February last year for the CAC to hear its case, after the multiple said it would not formally recognise the union.
The CAC panel ruled in January that it had accepted the PDA's application but needed to be satisfied that the union had met the threshold of at least 10 per cent of pharmacists employed by Boots having membership.
"In order to decide on whether the majority of the proposed bargaining unit would be likely to favour recognition of the union for the purposes of collective bargaining on their behalf ... the panel shall conduct a membership and support check to understand better the union's level of support," the CAC said.
Boots UK employes about 6,000 pharmacists according to the company's website, the PDA claims to have 2,100 Boots members.
PDA union general secretary John Murphy said the CAC's decision meant the union was now "off the starting block".
"We were disappointed that the company went to great lengths to prevent us from gaining recognition and we were left with no option [but] to make a formal application to the CAC," he said.
But BPA chief executive officer Peter Walker said he did not believe the PDA could effectively or successfully represent Boots pharmacists.
"The decision strengthens our resolve to continue to represent our members in every challenge they face and we will continue to represent our members both internally and externally as the pharmacy profession changes," Mr Walker said.
"We believe we have acted consistently throughout this process, putting the interests of our patients and our pharmacists at the forefront and acted properly and within the letter of the law," Boots HR director Dave Vallance added. "We can confirm we are seeking to review the CAC's decision."
Both Boots and the PDA can now submit evidence to the CAC, such as petitions or letters of support, before the regulator reviews the case again.
The CAC said it could take up to 25 weeks before a decision was made.
Would PDA representation benefit Boots employees?