CAC decides make up of Boots bargaining unit

The Central Arbitration Committee has ruled that all store based and relief pharmacists, reregistration pharmacists and pharmacist store managers at levels 5, 6, and 7 can vote on whether the Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union will represent them.

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All Boots pharmacists and store managers at levels 5, 6, and 7, except those in field and support office roles, can vote on whether they will negotiate their pay, hours and holiday through the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) has ruled.

The CAC ruled that the bargaining unit for future terms and conditions negotiations will comprise all store-based and relief pharmacists, preregistration pharmacists and pharmacist store managers at levels 5, 6 or 7.

A ballot will be held among this group of pharmacists to determine whether the PDA Union will represent them.

Earlier in September 2018, talks between Boots and the PDA Union over the future representation of Boots pharmacists ended without agreement. Boots believed the bargaining unit should be made up of only store-based pharmacists, while the PDA Union argued that it should represent all pharmacists and preregistration pharmacists who are employed by Boots.

The lack of agreement meant that the decision over the bargaining group was left in the hands of the CAC, the body that resolves collective workplace disputes.

Each party was invited to supply the CAC panel with, and to exchange, written submissions relating to the question of the determination of the appropriate bargaining unit.

“Whilst we are pleased that the panel have agreed with us that pharmacist store managers and preregistration pharmacists, as well as all store and relief pharmacists, should be able to benefit from independent trade union recognition, there are still hundreds of pharmacists in field and support office roles who will be excluded from any ballot because Boots do not want them to be represented by an independent trade union,” said Mark Pitt, assistant general secretary of the PDA Union.

Andrew Caplan, pharmacy and retail stores operations director at Boots UK, said Boots was pleased that the CAC “largely agreed” with it that the most workable bargaining unit was one that was made up of pharmacists in patient-facing roles.

“I remain confident that Boots and Boots pharmacists can be stronger working more closely together, rather than through a third party. It will now be for this bargaining unit to vote on whether or not they want to recognise the PDA Union,” he said. 

The CAC’s decision means that around 170 Boots support office and field pharmacists will be excluded from any independent trade union recognition.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, October 2018, Vol 301, No 7918;301(7918):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205533

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