Pharmacists working at Boots won union recognition in 2019. The recognition campaign, at the largest employer of pharmacists in the country, remains the only example in UK industrial relations history of a group of workers successfully ending an existing scheme that management wanted to retain at a union that does not have a certificate of independence. replaced by a relationship with the independent trade union.
Following union recognition, several Boots PDA members stepped forward to be trained as PDA Workplace representatives. The PDA Reps Network in Boots has since supported hundreds of individual pharmacists and groups of pharmacists at Boots in resolving workplace issues such as disciplinary action, complaints, termination and TUPE transfers. Negotiators for the PDA Reps Network in Boots have also reached several compensation plans that have improved overall pay for pharmacists and pharmacy assistants at the company.
Gordon Finlayson, PDA National Rep said: “The PDA network of representatives in Boots ensures that the views and concerns of all Boots pharmacists are heard by the most seniors in the business through regular meetings of the Joint Advisory Committee.”
In addition, PDA representatives continue to work to resolve individual member issues locally where possible and, where necessary, the PDA has also supported members with more serious claims, such as those that are successful in court.
A recent survey of the density of PDA membership at Boots since gaining union recognition found that pharmacists and trainees have remained members of the PDA for the past three years. PDA membership has now reached two-thirds of all pharmacists in the company’s locations.
Collette Bradford, PDA Director of Organizing and Engagement said: “This increasing density of PDA membership (over 60%) compares very favorably with union density in the UK economy as a whole. Traditionally, the public sector density (51%) is much higher than the private sector (12.9%), with the PDA density in Boots being significantly higher than the average, even in the public sector.”
This is a significant increase, and members tell the PDA that workers welcome the benefits of union recognition. Since most pharmacists and pharmacy assistants who may be employed by Boots in the future are already PDA members, the professional unit of pharmacists working together as a union to improve their working lives and the pharmacy sector has the potential to grow even further. strengthen.
Increased membership strengthens the union’s influence and ability to negotiate. The remaining third of salaried pharmacists employed at the company’s sites are actively invited to join their peers in the PDA.
Collette Bradford also said: “If you are a pharmacist or pharmacist in training and not yet a member of the PDA, now is the time to join us and ask your colleagues to do the same.”
PDA members at a number of other employers, most notably LloydsPharmacy, have followed the lead of pharmacists at Boots and have also secured union recognition with their employer, where they also represent pharmacists and negotiate pay and benefits. Union representatives have certain rights and legal protections that enable them to carry out their duties.
Pharmacists who want to work together to improve their working lives and see the PDA union recognized in their workplace should do the following:
- Talk to colleagues, pharmacists and interns and also encourage non-members to join the PDA.
- Colleagues who are not pharmacists may be encouraged to join unions appropriate to their position.
- Consider who will be voluntarily trained as a PDA representative and then build a network to represent colleagues, as recognition requires at least one representative within the organization.
- Determine how many people are employed by the employer, how many pharmacists and how many of them are PDA members.
- Contact the PDA Organizing & Engagement team for more information and support.
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