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Morrisons responds to claims of ‘blocking’ pharmacy’s £500 COVID bonus

Morrisons: We have taken another look at arrangements and will process payments

Morrisons will ensure eligible pharmacy staff in Scotland receive their £500 COVID-19 bonus from the government, following claims this payment was being blocked by the supermarket.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last November that all NHS and social care staff who had worked a full-time role since March 17 would receive a one-off payment of £500, as a sign of appreciation for their work during the pandemic.

The government confirmed at the time that community pharmacy workers would also be eligible for the pro-rata £500 payment.

However, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) claimed yesterday (February 18) that it had received reports from some pharmacists working at Morrisons branches in Scotland, who claimed “that the company will be blocking the £500 payment to individual pharmacists”.

“The PDA [has] also been told that some managers in the supermarkets have refused to provide written copies of the company communication about this decision,” the PDA added.

The PDA wrote to Morrisons’ superintendent pharmacist Peter Fulford yesterday to “seek clarification as to the company’s position”.

Morrisons has since confirmed to C+D that the payment will be processed to its eligible staff.

Morrisons takes “another look”

Approached by C+D for comment following the PDA reports, a Morrisons’ spokesperson initially dismissed the PDA’s release.

Morrisons later issued a statement to C+D, in which it said: “We’ve taken another look at the arrangements put in place by the Scottish government to pay a one off ‘thank you’ to every NHS and social care worker, and can now confirm that we will process these government payments directly to eligible Morrisons colleagues.”

“We would again like to confirm that we’re incredibly proud of the full part played by all our key workers, who continue to make a truly incredible contribution in these very challenging circumstances,” the spokesperson added.

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