• Boots pharmacists vote to end deal with BPA

    Boots pharmacists have narrowly voted to derecognise the Boots Pharmacists Association (BPA), leaving the way clear for the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) union to represent pharmacists working for the High Street chain.

    In the first vote of its kind under UK law, 41.02% of the Boots ‘bargaining unit’ of pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists voted to support the end of a recognition agreement between Boots and the BPA.

    The threshold for derecognition to succeed was 40% of all 6,890 eligible voters.

    In total, 2,826 pharmacists voted for derecognition (86.63% of voters), while 436 (13.37% of voters) cast their ballot for the agreement with the BPA to continue.

    The Government’s Central Arbitration Committee, which resolves collective disputes, subsequently ended bargaining arrangements between Boots and the PDA with “immediate effect” on 11 June 2018.

    And the PDA then submitted a formal request to be recognised as the organisation that negotiates on behalf of Boots pharmacists.

    The CAC also confirmed that the original to end the arrangement between the company and the BPA had ended.

    Richard Bradley, Boots pharmacy director, confirmed that the PDAU had written to Boots asking for formal recognition of all pharmacists at levels 5, 6 and 7.

    “We are considering this request and will respond to the PDAU over the next ten working days in line with the legal process,” he said.

    Bradley added that until any new collective bargaining arrangement was agreed, the BPA could still represent its members’ individual interests to Boots.

    In a statement, the PDA said it would “approach the situation in the interests of all pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists whether they were convinced to support the BPA agreement, voted to support the PDA, or didn’t vote at all”.

    John Murphy, General Secretary of the PDA said “Our objective in this process has always been, and always will be, to achieve outcomes that are in the best interest of current and future pharmacists at Boots. I’ve said before, and I’ll repeat, [that] we are never going to give up working for our members and we will keep them advised of our next steps.

    The BPA expressed “disappointment” at the result, and its executive committee is to meet in the next few weeks to discuss the impact of the ballot and “how best to continue serving its members moving forward.”

    In a statement issued after the result of the ballot on 7 June 2018, Paul Robinson, chief executive officer of BPA, said: “The BPA would like to thank those who voted against derecognition for their unwavering support, as well as BPA members who have remained loyal during this long campaign and who appreciate all the benefits that BPA membership has to offer.”

    He added: “We are obviously disappointed by the result of the ballot, but would like to acknowledge the PDAU’s success in the campaign.”


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