Boots has told its employees of proposed plans to cut up to 350 jobs from the company’s head office in Nottingham in an effort to save money.
The multiple confirmed to The Pharmaceutical Journal that “a very, very small number of pharmacists” involved in its pharmacy support function “might be impacted” and said it would redeploy those affected to other roles.
The potential job cuts form part of a restructuring of the Boots head office, which currently contains 2,500 employees, and which will see office staff work in smaller teams.
A statement from Boots issued on 27 February 2019 said the restructuring will “reduce decision making time” and “improve efficiency”, while also reducing “head office costs by around 20%, creating smaller and more agile support teams”.
The restructure forms part of a cost savings programme announced on 20 December 2018, in which Walgreen Boots Alliance aims to make “annual cost savings in excess of $1bn” across its business worldwide after three years.
Seb James, managing director at Boots, said the change will “assure the long-term future” of the company.
“Like all retailers, we are operating in a new environment in which customers need us to move much faster” and recognise that they want to shop differently,” he said.
“The vast majority of head office roles will be unaffected, and we intend to make sure that the number of people concerned is minimised through redeployment, natural attrition, flexible working and other measures.
“A consultation process with affected colleagues will begin immediately.”
Daniel Adams, national officer of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), representing more than 400,000 members in the UK including some Boots employees, said news of the cuts is “clearly devastating”.
“We would urge the company to engage with USDAW as the trade union for Boots staff to ensure that all avenues to minimise the impact of these proposals are explored during this critical time,” he said.