PDAU begin LloydsPharmacy union recognition campaign


In response to calls from pharmacists at LloydsPharmacy (Lloyds), the Pharmacist Defence Association Union (PDAU) has applied to the government’s Central Arbitration Committee for trade union recognition at the second-largest community pharmacy employer in the UK.


The PDAU has said that this is especially important at this time because the company have announced plans to make job losses and changes to employment contracts.


Commenting on the move the PDAU said the following:


“In the legal process, such a formal application must be preceded by an initial letter to the company asking for recognition and this was submitted at the beginning of February 2020.  The letter followed an earlier series of discussions between the company and the union about the possibility of recognition.


“PDA Union has been inundated with contacts from concerned pharmacists at Lloyds after the company announced last week that it will shortly commence discussing the possibility of redundancies and contractual change.  Pharmacists at Lloyds now want a similar agreement to that secured by Boots pharmacists in 2019.


“In fact, it was exactly one year after pharmacists at Boots concluded their 8-year fight to secure an independent voice at work that the PDAU application for recognition for Lloyds was submitted. After the recognition deal was signed at Boots, pharmacists immediately secured a say in negotiations about their pay and a collective voice on changes at work for the first time.  Pharmacists at Boots have been trained and empowered to act on behalf of their colleagues and now negotiate and consult with senior management, all with the support of their union’s resources and expertise, plus benefitting from the legal rights and protections associated with being accredited trade union representatives.


“During the Boots recognition campaign, pharmacists from across the profession registered their support for colleagues at Boots.  Now the PDAU are calling on the whole profession to stand behind colleagues at Lloyds so that they too can get the voice at work which pharmacists deserve as qualified health professionals.  Please watch out for further communication on how you can help Lloyds pharmacists secure recognition with their employer.”


The company now has until 17th July to respond to the application. The PDAU has asked that pharmacists make sure their contact details are correct so that they can contact the appropriate pharmacists as the process progresses. If you are one of these pharmacists you can update your details here. 



PDA Union agree historic pay deal for Boots pharmacists

Boots Management Services Ltd and the PDA Union have reached agreement on a pay deal for Boots pharmacist. The highlight of the pay settlement is that the total payroll cost for those in the Bargaining Unit (excluding Pre-Registration Pharmacists) will be increased by 1.8%.


The deal applies to Boots pre-registration pharmacists, pharmacists (including Relief Pharmacists, Care Services Pharmacists, Advanced Practitioners, and Specialist Practitioners) and pharmacist store managers in the bargaining unit for which PDAU is recognised.


The key points in the settlement are outlined below.


For the 2019/20 pay settlement, Boots have confirmed that all colleagues within the bargaining unit who are substantively appointed and performing in the role will be paid at least within the market range for their role. In 2018 those under the range “minimum” received a 3% pay increase but this could have still theoretically left them paid less than the ‘minimum’ range after pay review. This commitment means the company will pay at least 80% of the market median salary for the role.


Boots have reaffirmed their commitment to providing long-term fulfilling and enriching careers for pharmacists, with the opportunity to develop and progress over time. Boots will commit to enabling pharmacists to better understand the types of considerations that could support their development and pay progression relative to the market range in the future. This was the company’s response in answer to PDAU request that all pharmacists’ salary should be at least the market median rate within 5 years of appointment to that role. Whilst progression through a pay range depends on a number of factors, the PDAU have said they are disappointed that pharmacists do not have a clear pathway to achieve their salary expectations for the role.


Boots have committed to developing further guidance and insight into this important topic. In the worst-case scenario, a pharmacist could work at Boots for their entire career whilst still not securing above-market-median pay. As with several aspects of the pay settlement, the PDAU have said they will be returning to this point in next year’s pay negotiations. Pay review letters will be available to individuals before the November payday. Colleagues will be able to access their letter via the benefits box system on 14/11/2019. The Benefits Box is available here. In previous years some letters were received after the new pay reached individual’s bank accounts and the PDAU wanted to make sure people were told about any changes to their pay in a timely manner.


The market ranges for roles within the bargaining unit will be available on Pharmacy Unscripted in line with the November pay cycle, from which colleagues will be able to calculate their position on the market range. During the recognition ballot process, the company began making pay scales more accessible to pharmacists which is a further benefit of this process. The PDAU have said they encourage all pharmacists to calculate what percentage of the market rate they are being paid. The market rate is the median average that other employers pay for comparative roles across the UK irrespective of individual experience, so being paid below the market median rate means pharmacists are being paid a below-market-average salary against comparable pharmacy employers.


A colleague’s performance rating will reflect their performance. The relative distribution should reflect business performance and individual performance. This means there should be no forced distribution of performance ratings. PDAU has previously drawn attention to the fact that Boots have always denied that forced distribution is applied and any examples given by pharmacists about this are due to company processes not being followed properly.


It is confirmed that holiday pay is calculated to reflect the average actual pay. This means that when a colleague takes their contractual annual leave (including service enhancements but excluding bank holidays), their holiday pay will be supplemented for any overtime (including Extra Duties and Lunchtime Payments) worked during the reference period. The current reference period is the 13 weeks prior to the date of the holiday being taken, which will be updated in line with the forthcoming legislative change in 2020. The supplement is visible on the payslip as “HPSupp”. This means that by claiming for any additional hours that pharmacists work they won’t just be paid for those hours, they will also be increasing their rate of holiday pay.


All company-assigned training should be undertaken during working hours. If this is not possible colleagues will be entitled to receive pay or time owed in lieu for time spent undertaking that training, to be arranged locally in conjunction with the line manager.


A joint working party will be established to review data on equality of pay between colleagues with different diversity characteristics currently recorded, such as age and gender. This means the PDAU will be able to look at the consequences of the company’s approach to pay management and identify any potential areas for detailed analysis before deciding if any action is needed.


The contractual working hours for pre-registration pharmacists only will be harmonised across the UK at 37.5 hours per week, with no loss of pay, to reflect the unique funding arrangements for pre-registration pharmacist salaries. This will mean a reduction of 2.5 hours per week FTE for those who work in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Standard FTE working hours for newly qualified and other pharmacists will not be affected by this change. Until this pay claim pre-registration pharmacists were for many years required to work 40 hours per week in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while those in Scotland worked 37.5. This doesn’t just equalise the hours, it also means pre-registration trainees in England, Wales & Northern Ireland will get an extra 2.5 hours per week to study (or whatever else they choose to do with their time). This one-off change to harmonise hours across the UK for pre-registration pharmacists is also equivalent to a 6.7% increase to the hourly rate of pay for English, Welsh and Northern Irish pre-registration pharmacists.  Pre-registration pharmacists in Scotland are unaffected by this change as they already enjoy a reduced working week of 37.5 hours.


Commenting on the settlement PDAU Director Paul Day said:


“This pay settlement is a solid start to the improved employee relations we intend to create at Boots to improve the working lives of pharmacists.


“The pay settlement was negotiated by pharmacists for pharmacists and is a significant step forward as PDAU ensure the voice of pharmacists is heard.


“This should also be seen as a call to action for those who have not yet joined the PDA to sign up and build our numbers further so we go into the next pay talks in an  even stronger position.”


The PDAU has pulled together a frequently asked questions page on this topic. you can access it by clicking here.


The joint statement issued by the PDAU and Boots can be viewed by clicking here.


First PDAU network in place at Boots


Following the recognition agreement signed by the PDA Union and Boots, the Pharmacist Defence Association Union (PDAU) has now established a network of PDAU representatives to represent the circa 7,000 pharmacists and pre-registration trainees employed at the company.  The PDAU Boots network consists of one PDAU representative for each of the company regions making a total team of 17 pharmacists who will now spend part of their time as trade union officials.


The members of the network will be taking on their roles once the initial union training has been completed in September when their contact details will then be made available. In the meantime, PDAU members at Boots should continue to contact the PDAU office with any concerns, comments or request for support.


The 17 regional representatives will act as PDAU representatives in their respective region as well as holding a seat on the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC). The JCC meets four times a year and will be chaired by a senior company leader.  Regional representatives may also act as Health and Safety representatives as well as Grievance and Disciplinary officers, helping individual PDAU members to resolve disputes at work.


One Regional representative from each of the company’s four divisions is also the Divisional representative.  Divisional representatives play a significant role, both as the senior representative for the Division and the Regional representative for their own region.  As such, they will be part of the Joint Negotiating Body (JNB) meetings which will deal with annual pay bargaining negotiations.


The Divisional representatives, alongside members of the central PDAU team, have already attended the first pay bargaining meeting with management at which the PDAU’s Pay claim for 2019 was discussed.


The members of the PDAU network at Boots are:



Mark Pitt, Assistant General Secretary of PDAU said: “We were delighted with the enthusiasm shown for these important roles and, as well as congratulating our new team, I’d also like to thank again those who applied but did not become part of the network on this occasion.


“We believe the Regional network is truly representative of the colleagues they will be supporting, and I know each of them is determined to do all they can to help improve the working lives of the 7,000 pharmacists and pre-registration trainees in the bargaining unit.”


The agreement at Boots means that the PDAU is now recognised to collectively bargain over pay and other working conditions, be consulted on significant issues and reach agreements with the company on behalf of all store and relief pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists.  Trade union representation for disciplinary and grievance meetings and other PDAU benefits are only available to union members.


Mr Pitt concluded: “The current experience of our representatives working at Boots combined with the resources, expertise and connections of the PDAU means we can do an even better job for our Boots members. We want to see issues being resolved as early, as locally and with the least disruption, so that pharmacists can get on with being the healthcare professionals they are employed to be, patients can receive the care they need, and the company can prosper.”


Collaboration is in the air as Boots and PDAU make joint statement


Boots and the Pharmacist Defence Association Union (PDAU) have had an initial meeting to discuss collaboration and future ways of working and have published a joint statement as they begin to explore ways of working.


The meeting took place on April 1st 2019 in Leicester and was co-chaired by Anne Higgins, Director of Stores Scotland and Northern Ireland and Paul Day, PDA Union National Officer. Anne was partnered by Matthew Blain, Director of HR Operations; and Kirsty Pitcher, Director of HR Retail & Opticians. The PDAU were also represented by Mark Pitt, Assistant General Secretary and Michael Radcliffe.


This meeting marked the start of negotiations about the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, how it will work and what it will cover. Both parties talked through the outline of a recognition agreement and the cooperation needed to define future work.


The move to take discussions forward in this way comes after the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) recently confirmed that the PDAU had been successful in its application to be recognised for the purposes of collective bargaining with Boots.


Both parties made the following joint comments:


“We’re at the start of a new relationship in which both sides are committed to creating a productive, trusting, positive and successful partnership that will work to keep the best interests of the profession and business at its heart.


“It’s not always going to be easy, and there will be some things we aren’t in agreement on, but equally, we have common ground and shared goals that we can work together to develop.


“We have both listened to the voice of our pharmacists and will continue to do so to build the future of Pharmacy at Boots. We care passionately about doing the right thing for our pharmacists – to create an exciting, innovative and sustainable future for us all, and we will continue with our negotiations with this in mind.”