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Pharmacists' Defence Association Union negotiates 1.8% pay rise for Boots pharmacists

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union has negotiated a pay increase for Boots pharmacists, along with equal working hours across the UK for Boots pregistration pharmacists.

Boots pharmacists have been given a 1.8% pay increase following negotiations with the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union.

The negotiations have also resulted in equal working hours for preregistration pharmacists across the UK.

This means that preregistration pharmacists in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will now have their working hours reduced from 40 hours per week to 37.5 hours, which the PDA Union has said is equivalent to a 6.7% increase to the hourly rate of pay.

This puts Boots preregistration pharmacists in those countries on a level footing with those in Scotland, who already have a 37.5 hour working week.

The 1.8% pay rise, effective from 1 November 2019 for employees other than preregistration pharmacists, is an increase on the 1% pay rise given to Boots pharmacists in 2018.

Paul Day, director at PDA Union, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the settlement “compares well to last year and is a solid start to the new employee relations environment for the company and their employed pharmacists”.

“We are here for the long term and negotiated settlements will now be the way pharmacists’ pay is reviewed annually,” he added.

Boots salaries are based on a market-rate pay system whereby the multiple uses a salary comparison service, which looks at other companies with similar roles and provides Boots with a range of salaries for each of its jobs.

This means Boots creates their pay ranges based on a “market median average pay”, with their salary ranges set at between 80% and 120% of the median rate.

PDA Union said in a statement that it had requested all pharmacists’ salaries be at least the market-median rate within five years of their appointment to that role.

However, the union added that it was “disappointed” that, despite making this request, “pharmacists do not have a clear pathway to achieve their salary expectations for the role”.

“In the worst-case scenario, a pharmacist could work at Boots for their entire career whilst still not securing above-market-median pay,” the PDA Union said.

“As with several aspects of the pay settlement, we’ll be returning to this point in next year’s pay negotiations.”

A spokesperson for Boots said the settlement “offers a market-competitive pay increase and underpins Boots commitment to offer long-term and rewarding careers to its pharmacists, as they care for patients and communities across the UK”.

The PDA Union won a vote for the right to represent Boots pharmacists in March 2019, before it signed a voluntary recognition agreement with Boots in July 2019, which formally set out the PDA Union’s right to negotiate pay and employment terms for store-based Boots pharmacists and preregistration pharmacists.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207289

Readers' comments (1)

  • What about pay rise for the dispensers and pharmacy technicians? Everyone seems to be talking about the pharmacists pay rise whereas other pharmacy colleagues been told this year that they won’t see any increase in their pay for at least next five years. Many of them works harder than some of the pharmacists and yet they don’t get any gratitude for that or any recognition. It is very demotivating for most of them. Many of them earn slightly bit more than a national minimum wage which is disgusting for the amount of work their do in the pharmacy. In my pharmacy dispensers check BNF before dispensing medication to check suitability of the medicine prescribed, and their day to day tasks are not much different from the ones that pharmacists have to do. However Boots as a company doesn’t appreciate and recognise their efforts in the same way as pharmacists. As an an example... “Performing” pharmacist for Boots gets a high bonus and pay rise, often counted in thousands of pounds whilst Performing dispenser doesn’t get anything. Myself, two years ago I had a bonus of 500 pounds where my pharmacist had a bonus of 3000 just because she was a pharmacist, not because she was good at her job or met the targets or simply that she was doing more than I was doing to support the pharmacy.

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