Boots pharmacists have narrowly voted to derecognise the Boots Pharmacists Association (BPA), leaving the way clear for the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) union to represent pharmacists working for the High Street chain.
In the first vote of its kind under UK law, 41.02% of the Boots ‘bargaining unit’ of pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists voted to support the end of a recognition agreement between Boots and the BPA.
The threshold for derecognition to succeed was 40% of all 6,890 eligible voters.
In total, 2,826 pharmacists voted for derecognition (86.63% of voters), while 436 (13.37% of voters) cast their ballot for the agreement with the BPA to continue.
The Government’s Central Arbitration Committee, which resolves collective disputes, is now expected to order the end of the agreement between Boots and the BPA.
In a statement, the PDA said it would “approach the situation in the interests of all pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists whether they were convinced to support the BPA agreement, voted to support the PDA, or didn’t vote at all”.
John Murphy, General Secretary of the PDA said “Our objective in this process has always been, and always will be, to achieve outcomes that are in the best interest of current and future pharmacists at Boots. I’ve said before, and I’ll repeat, [that] we are never going to give up working for our members and we will keep them advised of our next steps.
“I continue to invite the senior management at Boots to voluntarily work with us for the benefit of their employees and the company as a whole. The PDA look forward to a time when Boots senior management agree to work with us as the legitimate independent voice of their pharmacists.”
The BPA was approached for comment by the Pharmaceutical Journal before publication.