The Central Arbitration Committee has issued the formal notice of the ballot to de-recognise the BPA at Boots. The notice details the process and timetable for this development to secure an independent voice at work for community pharmacists. The ballot period opened on 25th April 2018 and pharmacists will shortly receive printed information from the PDA Union and the BPA at their workplaces.
Ballot papers will be posted to home addresses provided by the employer on 10th May 2018 and completed voting papers must be received back at the independent scrutineer’s offices by noon on 23rd May 2018. Boots Pharmacists are advised that if they have recently changed address and have not informed the employer, they should do so as soon as possible to ensure they receive their ballot paper on time.
The PDA union has been running a campaign for seven years with the aim of securing an independent voice at work for Boots pharmacists. It is the first to reach the point of a ballot that is required to remove an agreement with a non-independent union which blocks the PDA Union from being formally recognised.
John Murphy, General Secretary of the PDA Union, said;
“We will never stop working in the interests of our members and pharmacists in general, and whatever the outcome of this ballot we will still be there doing what’s best for our members.”
“Because Boots is the largest employer of community pharmacists, working conditions there often influence the rest of the sector and so those voting in the ballot aren’t just voting to improve their own situation but can help set a precedent for their professional colleagues across the sector.”
The law being used in this application has never been used before, despite existing for 17 years, and anyone interested in employment relations across various industries will also be looking at the outcome. Employees represented by the BECTU section of the PROSPECT union at Picture House cinemas and Employees represented by the University and College Union (UCU) at Coventry University are among those facing similar situations where an employer is blocking an independent voice at work for employees.
Mr Murphy continued:
“When you look beyond the legal jargon and complex process this is a very simple situation. Thousands of pharmacists want and deserve an independent trade union on their side, speaking up for them and resolving matters so that they can focus on delivering excellent patient care. Sadly, the owners and senior management of Boots have rejected that and instead agreed in secret a blocking arrangement with the BPA.”
“Thankfully UK law gives employees the legal right to challenge such situations and it’s now up to those pharmacists and pre-registration graduates at Boots to make it happen. The PDA Union is calling on every Boots pharmacist and pre-registration graduate, whether you are a member of the PDA Union, the BPA, neither, or both to vote and let your voice be heard.”
Ballot papers are due to be dispatched on 10 May to the home addresses of the workers and must be returned by 23 May to be counted. Read more on this story here.