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What happened at PDA's meeting with Tesco boycott group?

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Mark Pitt: We admire the dynamism of One Voice Pharmacy

The Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) has suggested an ongoing relationship with the One Voice Pharmacy group could be on the table.

PDA assistant secretary general Mark Pitt confirmed to C+D that he and his colleagues had a “constructive meeting” with representatives from One Voice Pharmacy yesterday (August 24), to deliberate “areas of mutual concern”.

It marked the first time the two groups had met. One Voice Pharmacy only formed in June, but has already organised a two-week boycott of Tesco in September over cuts to locum pay. 

Mr Pitt said that they “plan to meet again” to discuss ways in which both organisations can work together.

Will PDA be endorsing the Tesco boycott?

The PDA – which launched its own campaign to highlight the plight of locums in September 2015 – did not confirm whether it would be working with the pharmacy group on the boycott, but One Voice co-founder Tanzeel Younas said “it is completely up to them if they want to be involved”.

Mr Pitt said: “We admire the dynamism that Tanzeel and his colleagues have demonstrated in building their organisation. [We] feel there could be some...benefit derived from a relationship [with them].”

Same goals, different routes

Speaking to C+D after the meeting, Mr Younas said it was clear that his organisation and the PDA “have the same goals,” but “we just pursue them in a different manner”.

Neither organisation would expand on their exact plans for the future, but Mr Younas said they had discussed the possibility of working together to improve working conditions, and the public perception of pharmacists – including highlighting the “amount of work pharmacists do”.

Mr Younas told C+D in July 2016 that One Voice Pharmacy had been created because some pharmacists feel “the PDA hasn’t done enough to tackle falling locum rates”.

“These concerns were raised at the meeting, and [the PDA] were very receptive to bridging the gaps [between them and members],” Mr Younas added.

The PDA confirmed that director John Murphy  and chairman Mark Koziol had joined Mr Pitt at the first meeting.

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