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MP attacks Asda over ‘bullied’ pharmacist

Labour's Gerald Kaufman told the House of Commons that Asda "bullied and bludgeoned" its former pharmacist for more than two years

Gerald Kaufman, Labour MP for Manchester Gorton, has condemned the supermarket for its “tyrannical” treatment of one of its former pharmacists for more than two years


An MP has condemned Asda for its "tyrannical" treatment of one of its former pharmacists.


Gerald Kaufman, Labour MP for Manchester Gorton, told parliament last week (July 10) that the supermarket had "bullied and bludgeoned" his constituent for more than two years.


Asda was unable to comment on the issue for legal reasons as the case was ongoing, it told C+D this week.


It is the second time Sir Gerald has raised the issue, having called on the government to condemn the employment practices of "these nasty bullies" in an early day motion submitted for debate in the House of Commons in February. Then, Sir Gerald said his constituent had been suspended from an Asda branch in Longsight, Manchester, for nearly two years on "bogus allegations" and then unfairly dismissed after a "protracted and biased process".


The MP said he suspected that racism had been involved in the "persecution" of the pharmacist and that Asda had breached the code of practice of employment regulator the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. He called on the government to investigate the "immoral thugs" at the supermarket chain.


Sir Gerald provided no further information about the allegations that Asda had made against his constituent.


Andrew Lansley, leader of the House of Commons, said he would pass on the issue to his colleagues at the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), although he advised the pharmacist to resolve his complaint through civil procedures rather than through the government.


BIS told C+D it had received the complaint and would be responding in a written answer by next week. However, the government was unable to comment on individual cases, it said.



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42 Comments

Anon Omous, Pharmacy Asistant/ Medicine Counter Assistant

On reading this web page I am somewhat confused by its contents?!?... The pharmacist involved in the above motion was matter of factly suspended for approx thirteen months (pending investigations) along with myself - as I placed a formal grievance about my experience while working alongside him as a trainee OTC / Dispencing colleague at the store in question. As far as I was aware 'Gross misconduct' (Harrasment and bullying behaviour) was the catagory his treatment towards me fell - if Asda managers failed to deliver a fair investigation, that still doesn't imply that he was found not guilty of my accusations.....I was the victim of unfair bullying behaviour and as a long term sufferer of mental health issues find it difficult to view this person as the victim .

Suraj P, Superintendent Pharmacist

As a former Asda pharmacist who resigned exactly because of intimidatory behaviour very similar to that outlined in the case above, I can vouch that the management structures at store level is definitely "tyrannical". Corporate American structures. I promised myself after my stint with them that I would never be an employed pharmacist again in my life - and this was only 2 years post-qualification! Maybe it was a good thing that I learnt such a lesson so early.

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

I was heartened to learn an mp was sticking up for his constituent but they could have just as likely been a hard pressed employee on fruit and veg rather than a pharmacist .He is very principled man and it is a shame we could not turn him into a public investigator with powers to close pharmacy operations on those perpetrating this kind of bullying and harassment .... I will dream on! As Mesut says, this was very rare in the past until the multiples grew with non pharmacy management and oversupply of pharmacists building over the last few years and Mr Kaufman is ignorant to this issue affecting us as a profession like any other mp out there. It is a coincidence the person affected is one of us.

Ms B Wilson, Pharmaceutical Adviser

For professions and the profession this is all unacceptable behaviour and not what I would have expected but people are people and if it goes on pretty much elsewhere especially in this day and age then why not pharmacy industry too. You will also get the stupid- though they should not be and also the lazy doing as little work as possible or leaving the less favourable tasks for someone else to complete never mind whether they themselves can do them at a good level just like any where else!! And like most areas of work you will find the old school where certain things were not tolerated or people believed in a personal standard; others are not that bothered even for themselves or for the best of the patient particularly at the levels of pay you can receive. Otherwise why would you still get some still trying to be corrupt or do corrupt practices even within a system where things were tightened up? And it will only continue or even get worse because of the sort of country we have now - face the facts it takes real guts to make a stand and most people are losing their back bone if they even had it in the first place, then those in authority who should know who to deal with the situation or have a zero tolerance in the work place, just stand by to the person in question generally feels unsupported. We like to think it all happens in the school play ground but in fact some people never grow up...

[email protected], Community pharmacist

Hmmm

Miracure Pharmacist, Work for a health/commissioning consultancy company

what about industrial tribunal ? or why do we take out expensive insurance policies - violation of employment rights = more compensation early retirement thanks Mr/MS bully boss
i had to pursue a similar channel against my employer for the data protection act they left my personal file out, i only found out when people strated guessing my age, i thought i look 10 years younger, so how do you know my actual age - when approached by the information commisioners officer my employer, a qualified pharmacist denied and lied - but i had evidence for it - case is going through the courts
was also give a 'false' conviction by boots when i was a student - this is going through the courts aswell - imagine how much boots will now have to pay to keep my gob shut - bullied me into making a 'false' confession and told i would never get to work as a pharmacist, they wanted me to go to prison - year of the event 1990s...

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

mesit you been on the crack pipe I see again? Now you have your own business, your prefence would be for the govt to open the market up and relax pharmacy planning laws? Wouldn't this mean you won't be able to sit in your office with your wide screen TV anymore?

Michael Stewart, Community pharmacist

Does anyone really think this is about sticking up for pharmacists? Or is it mere coincidence the employee is a pharmacist? Does anyone really think Sir Gerald cares whether pharmacists get 'bullied' into doing MURs? Wake up.

John Ellis, Community pharmacist

If pharmacist were smart, they would use this story to support our view that pharmacists are being bullied, but instead we squabble amongst ourselves over the meaning of this story. Be smart, suppport each other when one of us is harmed in this way, we should email Gerald Kaufman and thank him for highlighting the issue and work together to prevent this sort if thing happening. Instead of just conspiring with the management to further erode our employment rights and pay, why not speak out against falling locum rates, against unethical mur targets and bullying tactics.

MESUT OZIL,

The Big 4 supermarkets are being attacked by the discount stores namely lidl and asda...
This is true competition where the consumers are the winners.

If they same was applied in Pharmacy, BOOTS LLOYDS COOP would be under intense competition and would loose a lot of market share. The winners being the public....

John Schofield, Locum pharmacist

I used to work for ASDA as a locum immediately before I retired and I found them excellent employers and in the branch I worked for management was not by fear or bullying, unlike other supermarkets.
Of course all individual cases are just that individual.
All the line managers were friendly and we treated each other with mutual respect.
However I'll say it again that all those with any foresight knew just what would happen in the late eighties before restriction of contract, ie the massive increase of multiple power and that coupled with over-supply is at the root of all the profession's problems.

Michael McDonald, Locum pharmacist

*One would hardly class ASDA as a discount supermarket in the same breath als Lidl and Aldi. I have locumed in Asda (as well as Tesco) and have never experienced any bullying from anybody except the customers. Please do not ascribe the failings of individual idiot store managers to the company as a whole.

*This comment has been edited because it referred to a previous comment that has been deleted for a breach of the community rules - C+D

MESUT OZIL,

Of course you won't slag off Asda being a Locum. That wudnt be smart would it ?*

*This comment has been edited because it referred to a previous comment that has been deleted for a breach of the community rules - C+D

Lancelot Spratt, Accuracy checking technician

What part of 'used to work before I retired' did you not understand?

Clearly the writer has no axe to grind against Asda. And as we have no knowledge of the form this bullying actually took, assuming that it was bullying, then it comes across as a bit of a knee jerk reaction by many on this thread. Perhaps waiting until the FACTS are revealed may help to provide a more balanced view.

John Ellis, Community pharmacist

There are no strict facts for this case, but it is a fact that many pharmacists feel bullied and under pressure to deliver unethical MUR and NMS targets. Whatever the outcome of this particular case, it should not come as a surprise to you or to anyone else that pharmacists would vent their frustrations on this forum.

John Ellis, Community pharmacist

*The question is, if relatively well educated and decent folk like pharmacists can be treated this way at Asda, what hope do the ordinary employees have in such an oppressive working environment.

*This comment has been edited because it referred to a previous comment that has been deleted for a breach of the community rules - C+D

MESUT OZIL,

Let's hope justice is served although I fail to under stand why it's taking two years

Farmer Giles, Work for a pharmaceutical company

Hear hear

got to admire Mesut........You dont take any nonsense...

...under a pseudonym and a claim to be a non-healthcare professional....

Farmer Giles, Work for a pharmaceutical company

Get off your high horse..!!!!!

A Super-calloused Fragile Mystic Hexed With Halitosis, Other pharmacist

ASDA middle management are not tertiary educated people. They resent pharmacists salaries . Where else are you earning more than your line manager.? Any dispute they love putting the boot in. Sad, but a commonplace enough occurrence in all the multiples who have pharmacies. Every time an MP is quoted I cringe as they are the most clueless jobsworths of them all, and that includes the NHS which is full of them.

MESUT OZIL,

Good post,, these line managers should stick to selling Connie's and tampax and let pharmacist do their job. I was once asked by Asda store manager to justify my rates and told him in no uncertain terms to mind his own business

It's laughable that after doing a shift in Asda u hv to fill in a Locum claim form which is in public view for all to see. No privacy

Davina Gadhia, Locum pharmacist

Phew... A non pharmacist sticking up for pharmacists... Result... About time...

MESUT OZIL,

This will become more and more common as NHS cuts back on funding and managers bark about providing more services for less.....

Sounds ruff ruff to me......

Michael Stewart, Community pharmacist

With all due respect to the pharmacist in question, how on earth has this issue been raised in parliament? Does this MP have nothing better to raise in the commons? If not I'm sure we can give him a list of pressing issues affecting pharmacy!

This is a human resources and employment law issue which should be addressed at a tribunal, not in parliament. I am offended that my tax dollars have been wasted in this way.

I call for Sir Gerald to resign for having nothing useful to bring to the role of MP and for wasting parliament's time.

Usman Akram, Locum pharmacist

Sir Gerald is a very principled man. Look him up before you accuse him of wasting time.

Shaun Hockey, Community pharmacist

Michael. I hope that was tongue in cheek and if it wasn't you should be ashamed of yourself. An MP's job is to represent and support his constituents which is what Mr Kaufman has done in this instance.

Michael Stewart, Community pharmacist

Thanks Shaun. It was tongue in cheek in as much as nothing I say or do can affect an MPs status. I am suitably chastened and regretful.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Gerald Kauffman is a well respected MP and probably the only MP who I know hand writes or types replies to his constituents. It just mirrors his passion for social justice.

Middle Way, Community pharmacist

Not sure whats really going on in Michael Stewarts mind here. You really shoul have some sympathy for other pharmacists going through difficulties. Tomorrow it could be you. As for misplaced efforts, your post talks about pressing issues in the world of pharmacy, you're on the wrong thread for that. Tax money is wasted in far more creative ways on a second by second basis than how you claim it has here. Good on the pharmacist for getting the support to push this issue all the way up.

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