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Date set for Boots pharmacists' vote on PDA Union representation

The vote marks the final stage of the six-year dispute between Boots and the PDA Union
The vote marks the final stage of the six-year dispute between Boots and the PDA Union

Boots pharmacists will have five weeks from February 4 to vote on whether they want to be represented by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union.

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

The final ballot will run for five weeks from February 4, 2019, with voting papers likely to be posted out in the first 10 days, the PDA Union said yesterday (November 7).

In June 2018, a total of 2,826 registered and pre-registration pharmacists voted to have Boots’ own union – the Boots Pharmacists’ Association (BPA) – “derecognised”, so that their pay, hours and working conditions could be negotiated by a union of their choice. This was just 70 votes above the minimum needed to meet the legal threshold to officially “derecognise” the BPA.

Commenting on the latest announcement, the PDA Union said: “If all those individuals vote to support the PDA Union again, this second ballot can be won.

“However, if less that 40% of those entitled to vote support the PDA Union application, [the union] could be locked out for at least three more years, so every vote counts,” it stressed.

PDA Union assistant general secretary Mark Pitt explained that the organisation had requested the vote to take place after the Christmas and New Year period “when we know stores and pharmacists will be extremely busy”.

He called on all Boots pharmacists “to look at the facts, reflect on their experience over the past six years and make an informed decision in advance of the ballot period”.

Boots “proud” of achievements

Andrew Caplan, Boots pharmacy and retail stores operations director, said the multiple is “proud of [its] market-leading levels of pay for [its] pharmacy population, and holiday allowances that are among the best in community pharmacy”.

“We've achieved that together with our pharmacists, without the complexity of a third party,” he added.

Boots will be updating its pharmacists and “making sure they have all the information they need in order to have their say”, Mr Caplan said.

Will you be taking part in the vote?

david williams, Community pharmacist

Andrew Caplan's statement of no third party is a disgrace. He has just told his empoyees that the BPA is not a third party, but an intergral part of the company. If I was his CEO a P45 would be comming his way for selling "our version" down the river. Not sure if |I have misssed something here, but surely that is what he has done??

C A, Community pharmacist

“We've achieved that together with our pharmacists, without the complexity of a third party,” he added.

Lol... accidentally admitting that the BPA does nothing? Well done!

Meera Sharma, Primary care pharmacist

Good luck PDA - fantastic stamina against this company. As for Boots pharmacists - do not lose this chance, no matter what you are promised by Boots between now & Feb 4th 2019!

Sham Kiani, Community pharmacist

Really hope there isn’t behind the scenes bullying to discourage Pharmacists from voting. This is a historic opportunity for Employed Pharmacists.

Saddened Old Timer, Community pharmacist

Totally agree with Barry, hope they get that representation and then some respect from their employer. We should all speak to every Boots pharmacist we know and make sure they know how important it is to get the PDAU recognised because as sure as eggs are eggs Boots will have some dirty tricks in store. 

Really begs the question, why are Boots so scared of having the eyes of the PDAU on them? What else do they have in store for those poor souls that are still there trying to do a great job under terrible pressures? 

I wish those pharmacists denied the representation they so badly needed every luck to cross the final hurdle. Go get 'em!

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