Pharmacists at Boots are four weeks away from being able to vote to secure an independent voice at work after more than seven years of legal processes and their trade union, the Pharmacist Defence Association Union (PDAU), want everyone eligible to vote in the coming ballot to take part.
Pharmacists formed the PDA Union in 2008 and within a few years, the union began seeking recognition at the largest community pharmacy multiple in order to ensure the views of pharmacists, their ideas and their concerns would be heard. The PDA highlight that the wishes of thousands of Boots pharmacists have been consistently resisted by the company’s senior management and last year a ballot of pharmacists at the company voted by 87% in favour, with only 13% against, to clear the final barrier to the PDA Union’s recognition claim.
Recognition now depends on the result of a postal ballot of pharmacists to be held from 4 February – 8 March 2019.
If the pharmacists secure a “YES” vote of more than 40%, of those eligible to vote, in favour of recognition then the management of Boots will have to properly listen to pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists. Then Boots employed union representatives chosen by their Boots colleagues, will negotiate on matters relating to pay, hours and other working conditions and be able to raise matters of concern about health and safety through a network of specially trained safety representatives.
Mark Pitt, Assistant General Secretary at the PDA Union says:
“As an independent trade union, we can already help people once things have reached the stage of conflict. Although Boots pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists form around 10% of our members, the way they are treated is disproportionately represented in our casework. Every day the PDA Union advisory team are helping Boots pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists with workplace issues.
“If we gain formal recognition, we can do much more than fixing things when situations have gone wrong; we can do more to prevent things going wrong in the first place and improve things that could be better. As pharmacists, we all know that prevention is better than cure.
“It shouldn’t be too much to ask a manager to listen to the professionals they employ. Pharmacists want a safe and healthy working environment, decent pay and reward, fairness and job security. We’ve been working towards this for years and we will achieve it. Although there are lots of challenges facing community pharmacy presently, this ballot isn’t about the future of pharmacy, it’s about making sure pharmacists are properly listened to and treated better at work whatever the future may bring.”