The PDA Union are calling again for an extension to the ballot process after almost 1% of eligible employees contacted the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) on day one because they had not received their ballot papers.
Voting papers for the derecognition process at Boots should have been sent to all eligible pharmacists by Kanto Elect, the independent organisation managing the ballot process, using name and address information provided by the employer. These should have arrived across the country on or before Saturday 12 May, allowing pharmacists to cast their vote and simply return the papers in a pre-paid envelope.
Pharmacists were advised if their ballot papers had not been received by Monday 14 May they should phone the CAC. However, call volumes were so high that the CAC has had to add an email address to the contact rather than just a phone number.
Mark Pitt Assistant General Secretary of PDA Union said:
“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 their own employees, but Boots have known about this postal ballot for months and had given assurances about the accuracy of the information it holds. They have had more than enough time to verify the quality of their data. This issue extends beyond the actual ballot papers as information from PDA Union was also distributed by Kanto Elect, using the names and address provided by Boots. This should have arrived at the same time as the ballot papers so that pharmacists were making informed decisions based on facts. It is not yet clear how copies of these items will get to those who have not yet received their papers.”
Mr Pitt continued:
“In addition, there are a number of pharmacists on annual leave this week, who will expect their ballot papers to be waiting on their doormat when they return this weekend. In practice, it may be too late to vote by the time they are able to request duplicate papers on Monday 21st May. In a ballot that requires 40% of those eligible to vote, to actually vote for change, this is a worrying development and although we have already had one request declined we are asking again for an extension to the timetable on the basis of fresh information. Every eligible pharmacist should be in receipt of the same information at the time of voting and their vote must be able to be received within the ballot period, hence in these circumstances, we believe that the ballot period needs to be extended.”
Completed ballot papers need to be received by 12 noon on Wednesday 23rd May and anyone still not in receipt of their ballot papers should urgently e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance with their full name, GPHC, PSNI or pre-reg number and full current address and contact telephone number.