The PDA has won the ballot to derecognise the agreement of recognition between Boots and the Boots Pharmacy Association. 2,826 employed pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists voted to end the BPA agreement and clear the way for PDA to become recognised.
This equalled 41.02% of those eligible to vote (86.63% of valid vote). PDA Union has approximately 2,500 members employed at Boots plus many more working as Locums (who did not get a vote). There were 6,890 pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists in the “bargaining unit” at Boots, each was eligible to cast one vote. They were asked if they supported the end of a recognition agreement between Boots and the Boots Pharmacists Association. Ending that agreement would clear the way for PDA Union to be recognised.
This was the first time this process has ever been undertaken in the UK as no group of employees has ever taken a campaign to end recognition of a non-independent trade union this far down the legal process.
The law sets a very high threshold for success at 40% of those eligible to vote actually voting in favour of a change, which meant 2,756 votes were required to make change happen. The result was 2,826 voted YES (86.63% of valid vote), 436 voted NO (13.37% of valid vote) which means the agreement will be ended by order of the Government’s Central Arbitration Committee (CAC). PDA Union can now proceed with steps to get statutory recognition at the employer.
Boots’ senior management has always had the option to recognise PDA Union and this option still exists. They could also choose to willingly respect the view of their employees and agree an enhanced arrangement with PDA Union which goes beyond the statutory arrangements.
The Boots Pharmacists’ Association claims to have c.1,250 members, all of whom work at Boots. This result suggests that 35% of BPA members voted the way the BPA Executive recommended. 6.5 times more Boots pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists (2,390 people) voted in favour of allowing the PDA Union to be recognised than voted to continue with the BPA agreement.
John Murphy, General Secretary of the PDA Union said:
“Our objective in this process has always been, and always will be, to achieve outcomes that are in the best interest of current and future pharmacists at Boots. I’ve said before and I’ll repeat we are never going to give up working for our members and we will keep them advised of our next steps. I continue to invite the senior management at Boots to voluntarily work with us for the benefit of their employees and the company as a whole. Together we can make sure Boots is a business success in a way that also fairly manages people in a healthy working environment, respects them as professionals, rewards them appropriately, and has working practices that improve patient safety. The PDA Union look forward to a time when Boots senior management agrees to work with us as the legitimate independent voice of their pharmacists.”