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Boots UK comments on trade body decision

Boots UK says it will be helping pharmacist employees to understand a decision made by independent statutory body the Central Arbitration Committee on 15 November 2017 that could affect trade body recognition.

The body has reportedly ruled to accept an application to potentially end an agreement between Boots UK and the Boots Pharmacists’ Association. A full decision is expected from CAC on 20 November.

Richard Bradley, pharmacy director, Boots UK commented: “At Boots UK we respect the right of our colleagues to become members of a trade body of their choice. Today, even though only a small percentage of pharmacists in the bargaining unit pledged their support for the application to derecognise the Boots Pharmacists’ Association (‘BPA’), the Central Arbitration Committee (‘CAC’) announced its decision to proceed to the next stage, which involves further discussions and, possibly, a ballot.

“We are currently reviewing the CAC’s decision to fully understand why it believes that the application should proceed with such a low level of support pledged. We continue to believe that maintaining our relationship with the BPA and working with our Pharmacist Partnership Panel is the most inclusive way of making sure all our pharmacists have a voice. We will, of course, be making sure that our pharmacists have all the information they need to understand exactly what will be happening and when.”

Mark Pitt, assistant general secretary of PDA Union said: “The company now have an opportunity to respect and listen to the views of its employees, to terminate the agreement with the BPA and voluntarily recognise the PDA Union as the voice of pharmacists at Boots. It will be disappointing if senior management insist on making pharmacists go through a full ballot process in order to be represented by the union of their choice. 

“The BPA also have an opportunity to do what is right and in the interests of Boots pharmacists by terminating its agreement with the company, or even go further and work more closely with the PDA Union, something we would welcome.”

The PDA Union said that the organisations now have 20 days “to see if agreement can be reached on the bargaining arrangement prior to a ballot of all Boots pharmacists in the bargaining unit being undertaken”.

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