Following a hearing on Friday 28th September, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) has issued its decision on which pharmacists will be eligible to vote in a ballot to decide whether they can negotiate their pay, hours and holiday through the PDA Union. The PDA Union will only be able to negotiate for better employment terms for this group of employees should they win the ballot.
The PDAU wanted all pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists at levels 5, 6 & 7 to be able to secure independent trade union recognition through a ballot. This included support office and field-based pharmacists as all pharmacists in these roles were included under the Boots Pharmacy Association (BPA) recognition agreement for the last six years and they were all eligible to vote in the recent derecognition ballot.
Boots’ management did not agree and only wanted store and relief pharmacists to be able to be included. After robust legal submissions from both sides the CAC decided that the majority of pharmacists, those in the following roles, will still be included in the bargaining unit and will, therefore, be able to vote:
- All store based and relief pharmacists, including advanced practitioners and care services pharmacists.
- All pre-registration pharmacists.
- All pharmacist store managers at levels 5, 6 or 7.
The Panel accepted Boots submissions that the following roles should be excluded from any independent trade union recognition.
- All pharmacists in field roles.
- All pharmacists in support office roles.
Mark Pitt, Assistant General Secretary of the PDAU commented:
“Whilst we are pleased that the Panel has agreed with us that pharmacist store managers and pre-registration pharmacists, as well as all store and relief pharmacists, should be able to benefit from independent trade union recognition, there are still hundreds of pharmacists in field and support office roles who will be excluded from any ballot because Boots do not want them to be represented by an independent trade union.
“We will never give up working for any of our members and PDA members in the excluded groups should be aware that PDA Union can continue to help them with advice, guidance and representation in individual situations such as grievances or disciplinaries if they occur.”