PDAU secures historic Boots ballot win

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union (PDAU) yesterday moved a significant step closer to securing trade union representation of pharmacists at Boots after winning a historic vote.

After eight years trying to secure trade union recognition at the healthcare giant, the PDAU defeated Boots by 3,229 votes to 266 votes as the Union closes in on becoming the independent trade union body representing pharmacists at the pharmacy chain on issues such as pay, hours and holiday. Some 3,308 pharmacists did not vote.

Last month Boots promised to launch a joint negotiation committee with an independent chair and elected representatives to negotiate strategy, pay, hours and holiday if its pharmacists voted against the PDAU.

The ballot, however, has highlighted the strength of feeling amongst those pharmacists to secure independent union representation. 

The result, following a three-week postal vote, saw 47.5% of those eligible to vote support the PDAU, passing the 40% threshold required for the Union to succeed.

All registered and pre-registration store-based pharmacists at levels five, six and seven who are employed by Boots Management Services Ltd were entitled to vote in the ballot.

The PDAU will now seek to reach an agreement with Boots over recognition under the guidance of the central arbitration committee.

In the immediate aftermath of the vote, the PDAU’s general secretary John Murphy wrote to Sebastian James, president and managing director of Boots UK, inviting the pharmacy chain to “enter those discussions constructively and in the spirit of our joint opportunity to make Boots even better.”

“We would like to invite you to work with us to start a new positive chapter of employee relations. A constructive relationship with this important group of healthcare professionals can add value to them, to patients and to the company,” Murphy wrote.

Boots did not respond when contacted by ICP.

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