The Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) Union has slammed Boots' decision to align its pharmacist salaries with the industry average.
In its 2015 pay review, Boots would compare its pharmacists' salaries against the market average to help its leaders make "individual pay decisions", it told C+D. This could mean pharmacists whose salaries were below the average rate receive a higher annual pay increase, while those earning above it would receive a smaller one, Boots said.
Boots UK head of healthcare HR Marc Donovan told C+D the company offered its pharmacists a "highly competitive salary and benefits package". Using a "market-based approach" to determine its pharmacists' salaries meant the company could decide on the "right package" for each individual and reward its employees "fairly", he stressed.
But the PDA Union said the market alignment approach was an "opportunistic" way to take advantage of the current oversupply of pharmacists and would "reduce salaries by stealth". It would also encourage other employers to lower their own salaries, putting "downward pressure" on the average rate of pay, PDA Union general secretary John Murphy said on Friday (November 21).
PDA Union members would "take some convincing" that the salary review would not be "another blow" to pharmacists who had loyally worked for Boots for a long time, he stressed.
Boots' proposals were another reason for the PDA Union to continue to fight the health and beauty giant "tooth and nail" over the right of the union to negotiate terms and conditions on behalf of Boots pharmacists.
Mr Donovan told C+D that the same approach of comparing pay to an industry average had already been used to determine the salaries of Boots' office support staff and senior managers last year. It was being rolled out for the company's pharmacists, store managers and assistant managers in 2015, Mr Donovan confirmed.
The PDA Union has been embroiled in a feud with Boots over the right to represent the multiple's pharmacists since the union claimed the rights of employees were being "gradually eroded" in 2012. The High Court granted Boots a "pyrrhic victory" in September after the PDA Union appealed the decision that Boots' refusal to recognise the union was lawful.