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Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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boots-the-chemistSeptember 17 2014

A judge has rejected an appeal by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association regarding its request to have Boots recognise the PDA Union.

In a statement issued after the hearing, the PDA says that had the appeal been granted it could have led to a change in the law so that Boots would have to give formal recognition of the PDAU.

The court hearing was the latest stage in a long process the PDA has been taking “to decide the issue as to whether Boots pharmacists could have their terms and conditions of employment negotiated on their behalf by a union of their choice.”

Boots has been arguing that the law does not need to be changed. It has also said there is no need to recognise the PDAU as it already has an agreement with the Boots Pharmacists’ Association. However, the PDA points out that the agreement between Boots and the BPA does not allow the BPA to negotiate on issues such as salary or holiday entitlement.

This has led to the PDA’s application for a ‘declaration of incompatibility’ where a court would have to rule that the agreement with the BPA went against the principles of human rights legislation.

The PDA says that the statements from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) influenced the outcome at the most recent hearing, with the judge ruling that the PDA could not apply for a declaration of incompatibility.

John Murphy, General Secretary of the PDA Union, commented that Boots “Our quarrel was not with the BPA, we simply believe that Boots pharmacists should not have the right to have their terms and conditions negotiated by a union taken away from them by their employer. We believe that this is a breach of their human rights.

“Even though the judge confirmed in his interim Judicial Review determination that the legislation as it stands currently does breach their rights under EU Human Rights legislation the government intervention in support of Boots seems to have tipped the scale."

Mr Murphy confirmed that the PDA Union intends to appeal the decision and that it is likely that this matter may have to be heard at the European Court of Human Rights.

Link:

PDA statement

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