BOOTS has failed to convince the courts to include senior management in the forthcoming ballot of pharmacists in the ongoing fight to secure an independent voice at the company.
The court hearing was necessary as neither Boots nor the Boots Pharmacists Association (BPA) could produce any clear documentary evidence to show which employees were within the scope of their agreement.
The court judgement confirms who is covered by the Boots/BPA agreement, and therefore which pharmacists will get a vote in the secret ballot to decide what should happen to the agreement which was introduced to prevent an independent trade union from obtaining formal recognition at the company.
The PDA Union, which represents over 2,400 pharmacists and pre-registration graduates at Boots, wants the agreement terminated to enable it to gain the formal recognition it needs in order to negotiate working conditions on behalf of Boots pharmacists.
According to the judgement, the evidence of Dr Matthew Blain, Boots’ Director of HR Operations “crumbled under cross-examination” and he was unable to point to occasions or consultative machinery that supported the suggestion that senior managerial pharmacists and pharmacist directors were covered by the Boots/BPA agreement.
Mark Pitt, Assistant General Secretary at the PDA Union, said: “The scope of the BPA/Boots agreement is about pharmacists who work mainly in patient facing roles and we are pleased the court accepted our interpretation of this document. The company’s attempt to also give a vote to very senior management and those who, while still registered pharmacists, work in other head office roles remote from pharmacy had the potential to influence the ballot and allow the status quo to continue; we welcome the court’s judgement as accurately reflecting the reality of who is covered by the existing agreement.
“The ballot is not about the future of the BPA, nor about who can join the BPA or indeed anything else. It is strictly confined to what should happen to the agreement that blocks the PDA Union from being able to negotiate as the independent voice at work for pharmacists.
“The PDA Union does not have a section for very senior pharmacists, but there are some PDA Union members working at Boots in head office roles. We proudly support them with their work and professional issues and once a collective bargaining agreement is in place, we will be looking at the scope of which job roles could fall under that.”
Read the full judgement here.