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Lloyds forced to attend pharmacist redundancy tribunal – despite dim chance of payout

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Lloyds forced to attend pharmacist redundancy tribunal – despite dim chance of payout

Representatives of the now-defunct LloydsPharmacy will be forced to attend a tribunal hearing in March 2025 concerning the redundancy claim brought by ex-Sainsbury’s pharmacists – despite there likely being little money available to pay the pharmacists if their case succeeds.  

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association, which is representing roughly 100 pharmacists whose roles were transferred to LloydsPharmacy via TUPE legislation when it bought the supermarket’s 280-strong pharmacy network in 2015, revealed today that following an April 2 preliminary hearing a tribunal judge schedule a final hearing to take place over four days next March.

This is in spite of a February liquidation filing that revealed LloydsPharmacy had just £8.2m at its disposal to service debts amounting to £293m – meaning there is “no realistic hope of securing anything more than a very small fraction of any compensation awarded if the claim is successful,” said PDA defence services director Mark Pitt.

The hearing will establish whether the claimants’ ‘enhanced redundancy’ entitlements – well in excess of the statutory entitlements the defunct company claimed it was liable for when it shuttered its Sainsbury’s branches last year – transferred over to their new roles via TUPE in 2015, or whether they lapsed at that point as the company has claimed.

“The liquidators on behalf of the company previously called LloydsPharmacy Ltd will be calling three witnesses for the hearing,” Mr Pitt said, adding that these are “believed to be” the company’s former grievance and appeal managers as well as a representative from Sainsbury’s.

Representing the pharmacists will be one lead claimant and a PDA Union official “with the union exploring the option of calling a further witness from Sainsbury’s,” Mr Pitt said. 

He remarked: “The PDA recognises the strong feeling held by many of the claimant about the desire to hold LloydsPharmacy to account for the loss of their enhanced redundancy entitlement.

“Due to the large number of members involved in the claim and because the great majority of the legal costs involved in the case have already been incurred, the PDA has decided to continue to support the case to a hearing.”

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