The Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union (PDAU) has made a second request for an extension to the timetable for the ballot to derecognise the Boots Pharmacists’ Association, after it says voting papers failed to arrive at the home addresses of eligible employees.
According to the PDAU, almost 1% of eligible pharmacists and preregistration pharmacists contacted the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) on the first day of voting because they had not received their ballot papers.
Voting papers should have been sent to all eligible pharmacists by the independent organisation managing the ballot process, using name and address information provided by Boots, arriving on or before 12 May 2018 to enable pharmacists to cast their vote and return the papers by midday on 23 May 2018.
“We are very disappointed by this entirely avoidable problem; it’s not just that we would expect an employer to hold the basic contact details of its own employees, but Boots has known about this postal ballot for months and had given assurances about the accuracy of the information it holds,” said Mark Pitt, assistant general secretary of the PDAU.
“They have had more than enough time to verify the quality of their data.”
Richard Bradley, pharmacy director at Boots UK, said the organisation had communicated regularly with pharmacists on the timetable for the ballot process.
“Leaders were briefed to update any changes to home addresses promptly when the official ballot period started and we have updated the CAC on any address changes recorded on our [human resources administration] system over the last week,” he said.
”We have also provided daily updates on any changes to the bargaining unit, such as joiners and leavers.
”The ballot process and mail-out of ballot papers is being run by the appointed qualified independent person, Kanto Elect, and the number of pharmacists who we are aware did not receive a ballot paper equates to 0.7% of a total bargaining unit of nearly 7,000.
”Pharmacists who are eligible to vote and haven’t received a ballot paper can still email the CAC and voting doesn’t close for another seven days (23 May).
”We await the CAC’s decision on whether to extend the ballot period or not.”
The PDAU says that anyone still not in receipt of their ballot papers should urgently email firstname.lastname@example.org with their full name, General Pharmaceutical Council, Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland or preregistration number and full, current address and contact number.