Boots 'pauses' plans to cut staff hours

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Boots 'pauses' plans to cut staff hours

Plans to reduce the number of hours worked by some Boots employees have been put on hold, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association has said.   

In a statement last week, the PDA said that while the multiple is pressing ahead with plans to reduce opening hours across many of its stores from February 27 – Boots has said store hours will be cut by an average of six per cent – for the time being it has “paused consultation processes” that could involve a potential redundancy exercise.

Instead, Boots is reportedly engaging in a ‘customer driven profiling’ exercise that will involve some employees being asked to rearrange their working hours or work in different locations in order to fit with the new opening hours, but will not presently see employees’ hours reduced or lead to redundancies.

There are reports of “informal conversations” taking place between pharmacists and line managers around these proposed changes.

Previously there were reports that some pharmacists were being told they may have their hours cut by as much as 10 per cent and their monthly pay reduced by several hundred pounds. 

But the PDA, which bargains with Boots on behalf of pharmacists, said it had given “clear feedback” to management on a number of concerns raised in relation to the reduction in hours.

The union said it was “pleased to see that the company has paused the other processes and is taking more time to try and find agreeable solutions for each affected pharmacy and employee”.

It added that some pharmacists may have agreed to reduced hours before the company paused its consultation, and said these individuals should be allowed to revert to their previous contractual terms until the process is complete. 

Pharmacy Network News has asked Boots whether it plans to resume looking at the number of hours worked by individual staff members at some point in the future, but has not yet received a response.

Speaking to PNN, PDA director Paul Day said any employees who are approached about proposed changes to their working patterns should consider whether the proposals are suitable for them.

He said some employees may explore alternatives including redundancy if they decide to reject the company’s proposals.

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