The PDA Union is set to negotiate the forthcoming 2019-20 annual pay review for store-based Boots pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists, having signed its first voluntary recognition agreement with Boots UK.
With the signing of the agreement at a Boots store in Nottingham, the PDAU now has collective bargaining rights to negotiate on pay, hours and holiday for these employees, and will establish a committee to discuss other issues such as health and safety.
This comes five months after Boots pharmacists voted by a landslide to recognise the PDAU as their collective bargaining partner, and weeks after Boots announced plans to close over 200 stores.
PDAU national officer Paul Day said in March that talks were expected to take five to six weeks. Commenting on today’s announcement, he said the agreement had required “hard work on both sides as we both negotiate the agreement and build the foundations of a working relationship”.
He said the process had been “worth it” and that the agreement “secures a lot more for pharmacists than the statutory minimum arrangement that we were guaranteed by the result”.
Anne Higgins, Boots UK’s director of stores for Scotland and Northern Ireland co-chaired the meetings on the agreement. Ms Higgins said: “This is the start of a new, more positive relationship between Boots UK and the PDAU. We look forward to working with them with a new spirit of partnership in the years ahead, working together for the long-term sustainable success of our pharmacists and Boots UK.”
PDAU assistant general secretary Mark Pitt said the union sought to work with Boots UK to create an environment “where the voice of pharmacists is heard and our members are able to contribute to the business as respected health professionals”.
Under the agreement, the PDAU will have one regional representative for each of Boots' 17 regions. Of these, four will also “fulfil a broader role and also participate in annual pay negotiations,” the union said.
A joint consultative committee attended by all reps will meet four times a year to discuss any proposed “material changes to people policies” from a pre-agreed list of policy areas, as well as discussing unresolved workplace issues and health and safety matters affecting the bargaining unit.
In addition, Boots will inform the PDAU if there are changes to certain policy areas, including bonuses.