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PDA: Boots pay review 'another blow' to loyal pharmacists

Boots pay review will "reduce salaries by stealth", says PDA Union general secretary John Murphy

Market alignment will reduce salaries "by stealth", claims PDA Union general secretary John Murphy, but Boots says it will reward employees "fairly"

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.

How should Boots review its pharmacist salaries? 

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Pharmacy HLP, Manager

We like continuity in staffing so would pay good pharmacist staff to keep them.

If the wages crashed or income dived then of course you would look again at pay but if you can make the profit then it is only reasonable to pay a fair wage.

Brian Austen, Senior Management

I don't think the new owners of BTC, Walgreens have any loyalty to any of the pharmacists that work for them. Their loyalty will be to the shareholders.

Super Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Not two pharmacist are the same. I have worked with exceptional ones & with absolutely terrible ones. And that is in the same work place/pharmacy. Both managers of equal authority. Are you really telling me that the one who is much more experienced & works his/her backside off & effects the performance of that pharmacy much more than the other deserves to be on equal lower pay to the lazy, less experienced one?

Pay should be tailored individually according to workload, responsibility, experience & ability, not canvassed across the masses.

As someone suggested, maybe the PDA should start a campaign uniting us as an entity to negotiate individually & collectively.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

This should all put an end to the claptrap about quality healthcare. It's about money plain simple.
Look after yourself the best you can. Services and Healthcare is just talk pedalled for rank and file Pharmacists while the corporates and independent contractors line their pockets. They're interested in money whilst they palm everyone else off with promises and lies.

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

i have no problem with them adjusting peoples salary to the market...after all its business...but what they must no do

IS LEAVE THEIR LOYAL PHARMACISTS OUT TO DRY, these pharmacists have been serving their communities for suddenly reduce their pay to match the market will have adverse effects on their buisness......

Andy Harwood, Other healthcare professional

Unfortunately Locum and Pharmacist rates are being squeezed, with an influx of Pharmacists qualifying every year I cant see how this is going to improve. The NHS needs to drive Pharmacy as being the forefront of healthcare and more importantly need to pay them to do it!

Helai Kousha, Locum pharmacist

That's called capitalism!!!

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

What were people expecting. Pharmacy is not a profession anymore. The pay is spiralling downwards and I for one am not surprised and not even smug that I saw this coming ages ago.
Pharmacy is dead. Having saved to enough depoisit to purchase I approached A well known bank and was told by their healthcare director that I was better off putting it in a deposit account.

As such made I provisions outside of the narrow world that is Pharmacy and in the not too distant future will say bye bye with not so much as a backward glance

Dave Downham, Manager

Boots increase salaries -> industry average increases -> other pharmacies have to follow suit -> PDA's members pay increases. Could this be why the PDA is interfering where it has no right?

Gursaran Matharu, Community pharmacist

It is a real shame, that pharmacy is no longer considered a profession. Having been on the register since 1986 when dispensing was the main thing and to today when I was providing POMs (Champix, Flu & PPV Vaccines) on PGDs, injecting patients, taking blood samples for NHS Health Checks, progress has been made but at a slow pace.
I, like many other pharmacists were given a vibrant profession and it is our responsibility to hand that over to another generation of pharmacists.
It is time for leaders from our profession to step up, Boots has lost its way along time ago and no longer has the respect it once did.
Ask any management consultant and they will say "invest in your people" but perhaps Boots doesn't value it's pharmacists to invest in them.

John Smith, Locum pharmacist

Given that Boots pay most of thier pharmacists well below the 'industry average' (circa 30-35k pa) then I would expect this to result in a pay rise for many of its pharmacists.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

Given that Boots pay most of thier pharmacists well below the 'industry average' (circa 30-35k pa) then I would expect this to result in a pay rise for many of its pharmacists.

Then why work for them? There's no rope around their neck forcing them to stay...If there is , let me know and i will cut it off and give them freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Janet NQ, Community pharmacist

In reply to all of your posts

If you're non healthcare professional how dare you comment on pharmacists issues we all got to deal with ? Stop embarrassing yourself .

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

John Murphy
I will give you some free advice

1. Boots are free to pay their staff whatever rate they like.
2. When supply exceeds demand, prices fall
3. In business there is no such thing as loyalty. IF YOU THINK OTHERWISE YOU ARE DELUDED.
4. The ppl at fault are those that work in these conditions - it beggars belief why you cant see that. Your advice should be, accept the conditions or look for pastures new. Of course the longer you 'fight' for the cause, the longer Pharmacist continue to pay fees to be PDA members. Its in the PDA interest to prolong things.

Finally the PDA have no authority over Boots and have little or no say about working conditions.
5. The same Pharmacist that moan about conditions will not take short term pain for long term gain., so why should other Pharmacists give a damn.

Peter McAuley, Community pharmacist

Average pay for working for an average company!
If Boots want to seen as a market leader they should be paying accordingly.

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

Worst feature of this “pay review” is that Pharmacists who are highly experienced and who have put in many years of service are likely to be most financially disadvantaged as they will have earned positions at the top end of the current pay scales.

Opportunistic and a very perverse way of rewarding loyalty methinks.

Z ZZzzzz, Information Technology

Time for at least one member of the BPA to leave and ask the PDA to negotiate for them. The judgement reported in September seemed to indicate that would be allowed.

Anyone brave enough?

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

John Murphy

IF BOOTS employees ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE PAY, THEN HAVE THE OPTION TO LEAVE. Boots like any company are here to make money and will pay the lowest salary possible. Its called Business. IF THE PHARMACISTS WERE UNITED AND ALL THREATEN TO LEAVE, THEN BOOTS WILL BACK DOWN BUT THE MAJORITY IF NOT ALL THINK OF THEMSELVES ND ARE NOT WILLING for short term loss for long term gain..

I dont think other non Boots Pharmacists give a damn to be honest and why should they.

Helai Kousha, Locum pharmacist

"have the option to leave" and then starve to death???!!! because they are all the same ie Lloyds = Boots= Day Lewis = etc.
Capitalism = Exploitation of majority by the minority

O J, Pharmacy technician

"If the pharmacists were united"...

That may well be the issue. PDA recognition anyone?

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

In reply to Sami Khaderia. Non healthcare professional.
You belong in the nineteenth century with such a selfish narrow minded view. I don't work for Boots but I DO GIVE A DAMN about my fellow pharmacists.

John Murphy and the PDA do an excellent job and this pay review is a cynical ploy to pay peanuts given half a chance.

All pharmacists are working under more stress dispensing more prescriptions thatn ever before. We should look after each other and support our colleagues where we can.

Sami - humbug to you!

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

Barry , You are blaming the wrong ppl. Boots are here to make money not fill the pockets of pharmacists. Its a simple case of supply/demand. Boots wants to pay the least and pharmacists want to get paid as much as possible.

Why should i give a damn about anyone who works for Boots, from past experience, they are VILE to work for yet 1000s of Pharmacists are prepared to work for them. Its there problem to sort out...!!

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