In a note to its "around 4,000" pharmacist members, posted on the group’s Facebook page, One Voice Pharmacy said it had not received an adequate response or explanation from the supermarket, after the group contested the new rates of locum pay and raised concerns over patient safety.
“Tescos have therefore forced our hand into boycotting,” the post reads.
The boycott will take place between September 10-24, and “all locum pharmacists” are being encouraged not to book any shifts with the supermarket during this period, the group said.
“The dates have been chosen to coincide with [the religious festival] Eid and an annual meeting of Tesco managers,” Tanzeel Younas, co-founder of One Voice Pharmacy told C+D yesterday (August 18).
Mr Younas added the initiative “is not a strike” and any locums already pre-booked for those dates will have to honour those bookings.
"The last thing we want to do is for pharmacies to end up with no pharmacists," he said. "Members have opted to take those two weeks off from Tesco to prove they can get better rates and treatment elsewhere."
“In line with competitors”
In June, Tesco announced it was slashing its Monday to Friday hourly locum rate from £19.50 to £18 in certain supermarkets across the UK.
The supermarket told C+D at the time that it made the changes following a review of locum market rates.
In a letter sent to One Voice Pharmacy in July, seen by C+D, Tesco commercial manager pharmacy lead Mark Raffaitin said “multiple pharmacies [are] offering locum rates of between £18 and £24 per hour.” “Over 85% of our locums are still paid in excess of £20 per hour,” he added.
However, One Voice Pharmacy queried these claims in a followup letter, dated August 11, asking Mr Raffaitin to “share the market research and results obtained”.
“We’re trying to build a statistical analysis of locum pay rates…so that we can show graphically that the £18ph that they say is competitive, is actually not,” Mr Younas told C+D.
Tesco did not confirm whether Mr Raffaitin had received the latest letter.
A spokesperson for the supermarket told C+D: “Following a recent review of locum market rates, we have made a reduction to the hourly rates we pay. We remain committed to offering hourly rates which are competitive within the industry.”