Boots pharmacists have been given a 1.8% pay increase following negotiations with the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union.
The negotiations have also resulted in equal working hours for preregistration pharmacists across the UK.
This means that preregistration pharmacists in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will now have their working hours reduced from 40 hours per week to 37.5 hours, which the PDA Union has said is equivalent to a 6.7% increase to the hourly rate of pay.
This puts Boots preregistration pharmacists in those countries on a level footing with those in Scotland, who already have a 37.5 hour working week.
The 1.8% pay rise, effective from 1 November 2019 for employees other than preregistration pharmacists, is an increase on the 1% pay rise given to Boots pharmacists in 2018.
Paul Day, director at PDA Union, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the settlement “compares well to last year and is a solid start to the new employee relations environment for the company and their employed pharmacists”.
“We are here for the long term and negotiated settlements will now be the way pharmacists’ pay is reviewed annually,” he added.
Boots salaries are based on a market-rate pay system whereby the multiple uses a salary comparison service, which looks at other companies with similar roles and provides Boots with a range of salaries for each of its jobs.
This means Boots creates their pay ranges based on a “market median average pay”, with their salary ranges set at between 80% and 120% of the median rate.
PDA Union said in a statement that it had requested all pharmacists’ salaries be at least the market-median rate within five years of their appointment to that role.
However, the union added that it was “disappointed” that, despite making this request, “pharmacists do not have a clear pathway to achieve their salary expectations for the role”.
“In the worst-case scenario, a pharmacist could work at Boots for their entire career whilst still not securing above-market-median pay,” the PDA Union said.
“As with several aspects of the pay settlement, we’ll be returning to this point in next year’s pay negotiations.”
A spokesperson for Boots said the settlement “offers a market-competitive pay increase and underpins Boots commitment to offer long-term and rewarding careers to its pharmacists, as they care for patients and communities across the UK”.
The PDA Union won a vote for the right to represent Boots pharmacists in March 2019, before it signed a voluntary recognition agreement with Boots in July 2019, which formally set out the PDA Union’s right to negotiate pay and employment terms for store-based Boots pharmacists and preregistration pharmacists.