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Latest News - February 2014

February 4, 2014
Adjudicator puts PDA bid for Boots recognition on hold
Source: UK News
By: Julia Gregory

The Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) Union's bid to represent Boots pharmacists has been put on hold by the government's statutory adjudicator.

The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) said it had halted the PDA Union recognition process for four weeks after the High Court ruled that Boots had no obligation to recognise the union in an interim decision made last month (January 22).

The High Court had invited the PDA Union to challenge its ruling and therefore the CAC would wait for the final decision, it told C+D yesterday.

The CAC decided last month (Jan 9) that the potential level of support for the PDA Union among Boots pharmacists was high enough to allow the union's application for recognition by the multiple to continue. Boots and the PDA Union originally had until this week to agree on the number of Boots pharmacists that could take up PDA Union representation if the union was formally recognised.

Boots UK director of pharmacy Peter Bainbridge said this week that the delay would give all parties time to consider the implications and effects of the High Court decision.

"It continues to be my strong belief that it's not in the best interest of the future of pharmacy, pharmacy patients or our pharmacists to formally recognise the PDA Union for collective bargaining on pay, hours or conditions," Mr Bainbridge said.

"The PDA Union sees the future of pharmacy in a fundamentally different way to us in some key areas," he added.

The PDA Union's general secretary John Murphy told C+D last month that its battle for recognition within Boots was "of significance for all community pharmacists and indeed the profession as a whole".

The union's membership services manager Mark Pitt said yesterday that it was still deciding whether to challenge the High Court ruling on the grounds that it infringed European human rights legislation. It had until February 11 to notify the court, he said.

Boots appealed against the CAC decision last year to depart from existing UK legislation and accept the PDA Union's application. At the time, the CAC acknowledged that Boots' own union was unable to bargain on its pharmacists' pay, hours or holiday.



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