The deadline has passed for a secret ballot of Boots pharmacists to be triggered on whether to de-recognise the Boots Pharmacists’ Association (BPA).
However, discussions are still ongoing between Boots, the BPA and the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDAU) to decide on the future of the BPA.
Last month the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), which resolves workplace disputes, accepted a legal application by a group of pharmacists backed by the PDAU to dissolve the BPA, triggering a 20-day statutory negotiating period.
That deadline passed on 13 December 2017, but a meeting on 8 December 2017 was held between all parties which discussed both the agreement between Boots and the BPA, and the details of any ballot if it were to be held.
Defining ‘bargaining unit’
There is disagreement between Boots and the PDAU over what constitutes the “bargaining unit” of pharmacists working for Boots who should vote on which organisation represents them.
In the CAC’s full ruling on the dispute, published in November 2017, the panel described the bargaining unit as “a little imprecise and hard to identify”. The PDAU claimed it contained all Boots-registered pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists excluding those at area manager level or above, while Boots and the BPA said it contained simply all Boots-employed pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists.
The panel found that area managers and above did not fall within the bargaining unit.
If a ballot is to be held it is understood that it will not take place until after Christmas. If Boots and the PDAU cannot agree on who would be eligible to vote, the CAC will decide, but it will have to be presented with details of Boots pharmacists, which will then have to be verified.