Six Boots pharmacists launched a legal challenge last month to have their pay, hours and holiday collectively negotiated by the PDA Union. The challenge was delivered to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) – the independent body responsible for resolving workplace disputes – on July 28.
Both Boots and its union, the Boots Pharmacists’ Association (BPA), were invited by the CAC to respond to the legal challenge.
In a statement to C+D yesterday (August 16), the BPA said in its opinion “the evidence presented [by the PDA Union] is not sufficient, as it is largely based on historic pledges of support for recognition of the PDA Union, and not de-recognition of the BPA”.
However, “no evidence of the outputs of this activity has been shared with the BPA at this stage”, Boots' union told C+D.
The BPA copied its response to the CAC panel to “inform their decision”, it said.
“We are proud of our many achievements over the years, that have been to the benefit of our members and Boots pharmacists in general,” it added. “The support we have given to our members will continue throughout this process.”
Boots’ response to CAC
Boots told C+D on Tuesday (August 15) that the multiple had written to all its pharmacists to confirm it “does not support the de-recognition of the BPA”.
“We respect the right of all colleagues to become members of a trade body of their choice. However, we have always believed that [through] our ways of working and engaging…we have the best opportunity to engage with each individual pharmacist across Boots, ensuring everyone has a voice,” it said.
The BPA's “intimate knowledge” of the business means it has been “challenging, informative and constructive” over the 40-year partnership, which “has made a big difference to our pharmacists and our business as a whole”, Boots said.
“The formal relationship we have is uniquely placed to help us into the future,” it added.
Announcing the legal challenge last month, PDA Union general secretary John Murphy said “the individuals taking this action are representative of many thousands of Boots pharmacists who have been frustrated by their employer’s actions”.
For a timeline of the Boots and PDA saga from 2012 to 2017, click here