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Hopes dim for ex-Lloyds pharmacists in redundancy battle

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Hopes dim for ex-Lloyds pharmacists in redundancy battle

Former Sainsbury’s-based LloydsPharmacy pharmacists engaged in a dispute over their redundancy entitlement are unlikely to receive anywhere near the amount they believe they are owed, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association has said.

In a statement last week, the PDA said a preliminary employment tribunal hearing first slated for October 21 has now been postponed to April “due to a lack of judicial resources,” adding that the recent declaration of insolvency by LloydsPharmacy – which is now named Diamond DCO Two Limited – “has materially changed the viability of the claim”.

If the pharmacists, who believe they are entitled to ‘enhanced’ redundancy terms as stipulated by their previous contracts with Sainsbury’s, are granted a tribunal hearing and succeed with their claim, they and scores of companies owed money “may at best only be able to recover a small fraction of the value of their claim,” said the PDA.

Diamond Two DCO’s January insolvency filing revealed that its debts stood at almost £300m, with just £8.2m available for ‘preferential creditors’ and £800,000 on hand to pay ‘unsecured creditors’.

The PDA said the company’s liquidators have now confirmed that it did not have any business indemnity insurance that would cover successful compensation claims, meaning “this option is not available to pursue”.

Commenting that it “shares the frustrations” of the roughly 100 pharmacists who were made redundant when LloydsPharmacy shut its Sainsbury’s branches in 2023, the union said: “The PDA continues to believe that the former Sainsbury’s employees who were made redundant due to the closure of the pharmacies inside those supermarkets are entitled to the enhanced redundancy terms they enjoyed whilst working for Sainsbury’s.

“However, no employment tribunal outcome can ever be guaranteed, and the prospects of success in this case have always been finely balance due to the specialised and complex area of employment law covering the dispute.

“Following the preliminary hearing in April, the PDA will undertake a review of the outcome and provide individual updates to those who are part of the group claim.”

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