PDA Union to represent LloydsPharmacy pharmacists

After eight years of trying to gain representation of Boots’s pharmacists, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union has signed its first agreement with the company.
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The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union has signed a voluntary recognition agreement with LloydsPharmacy, allowing pharmacists at the multiple to negotiate on employment matters.

The agreement, signed on 8 February 2021, means the union now represents pharmacists at the UK’s two biggest multiple pharmacy chains.

In a statement, the PDA Union said the first pay negotiations under the new agreement will begin later this year in time for the 2022 pay review.

The recognition agreement with LloydsPharmacy follows a similar agreement signed with Boots in July 2019.

“We all understand that while we have many shared objectives, such as ensuring safe and healthy workplaces and professional fulfilment for pharmacists, we may not always agree on every issue,” said Paul Day, director at PDA Union.

“However, having an honest and constructive working relationship between employer and employee representatives means that we can navigate all circumstances — and by ensuring the voice of pharmacists is properly heard, that can only improve matters.”

Day told The Pharmaceutical Journal that, prior to the recognition agreement, the multiple implemented employment-related changes, including pay increases, “unilaterally”.

Johnny Dowd, head of HR operations at McKesson UK, parent company to LloydsPharmacy, said the multiple’s aim was to provide its pharmacists “with a rewarding career in which they feel valued and able to achieve their professional and personal goals”.

“We believe that the PDA can help us achieve that ambition, and we are looking forward to working closely with them going forward,” he said.

“Before reaching the agreement with PDA Union, we asked our pharmacists what they wanted, and there was clear support for us to work with the PDA in this way.”

The agreement was signed one year after the PDA Union formally requested the recognition at LloydsPharmacy in February 2020.

The PDA Union was forced to submit a statutory application for recognition to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) in July 2020 after the multiple failed to progress the formal request.

The CAC accepted the application after it had determined that 43% of store-based pharmacists were already PDA Union members, meaning it was likely that a majority would vote for union recognition.

The multiple and the PDA Union entered into talks in December 2020, before signing the recognition agreement on 8 February 2021.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PDA Union to represent LloydsPharmacy pharmacists;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.20208785

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