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Lloyds could face legal challenge over Sainsbury’s redundancy packages

Pharmacy News

Lloyds could face legal challenge over Sainsbury’s redundancy packages

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association has said it is exploring the legal options of roughly 100 pharmacists being made redundant from branches of LloydsPharmacy based in Sainsbury’s supermarkets who are in a dispute with their employer over their redundancy entitlement.

According to a statement today (February 17), PDA members who worked in Sainsbury's pharmacies when they were bought by LloydsPharmacy in 2015 have approached the organisation after the multiple told staff being made redundant due to the closure of Sainsbury’s pharmacies that they are only entitled to statutory redundancy payments unless enhanced terms were “specifically written into your contract of employment”.

But according to the PDA, when Sainsbury’s sold 281 pharmacies to then LloydsPharmacy parent Celesio to 2015, all 2,500 staff transferred to the multiple via TUPE legislation “were entitled to an enhanced redundancy package and this valuable benefit transferred to their new employment at LloydsPharmacy regardless of whether it was written into their employment contract”.

The PDA added: “Many former Sainsbury’s employees continued to work at the same location, loyally contributing to the LloydsPharmacy business with a belief that should redundancy ever happen to them, they would at least receive the enhanced redundancy benefits that transferred across for everyone.”

Speaking to Pharmacy Network News, PDA director Paul Day said the enhanced redundancy terms offer seven weeks’ pay for each full year worked, compared to statutory redundancy which pays out a week for every year worked over the age of 22 and a week and a half for every year worked over the age of 41.  

PDA general secretary Mark Pitt said: “After learning that their employer is choosing to make hundreds of pharmacists and their teams redundant, our members are shocked to learn that LloydsPharmacy is now informing them the Sainsburys enhanced redundancy scheme that transferred across no longer applies. 

“The legislation in this area is complex and the PDA legal team are considering the options available to challenge the company’s claim that it removed these enhanced redundancy benefits for all former Sainsburys staff.

“Regardless of any legal challenge that may follow, the company always have the option to do what our members believe is the right thing. We call upon LloydsPharmacy senior leadership to reflect upon this decision and commit to pay those former Sainsbury’s staff now being made redundant, the enhanced benefits which they believe are due.” 

Mr Day added: “Ultimately, it could end up with one form or another of legal action. Then you make lots of lawyers rich, and if we win the members still get it. We’d rather Lloyds paid it now.”

LloydsPharmacy has been approached for comment.

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