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Unionised pharmacists aren't going anywhere, Boots warned

UNIONISED pharmacists have warned managers that they “aren’t going anywhere” after teaching other trade unionists on how to “do the impossible” and beat sweetheart unions.

Speaking at the Unions21 annual conference in London, Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) director Paul Day discussed the fight of his organisation, which was established in 2008 and represents 28,000 workers, in unionising workers at Boots.

He told delegates that anger could be easily detected in Boots, where “health professionals work in an environment where, last week, their manager could have been the manager of a Carphone Warehouse, and cares about nothing other than how [many] goods they’re selling.”

However, workers felt like the 7,000 pharmacists at Boots were not adequately represented by the Boots Pharmacists’ Association (BPA), a sweetheart union that worked on behalf of management.

Organisations such as the BPA exist across the pharmaceutical industry.

However, Mr Day said that their idea was to “start with the biggest employer.

“We thought – let’s treat it like the first day at a new school.

“You knock out the biggest kid on the playground and the smaller kids will treat you with some respect.”

The PDA successfully fought twice to derecognise the BPA in a decisive rejection of management proposals.

Mr Day said that a recognition agreement is set to be struck.

However, he warned bosses: “We could be an opposition they don’t like. We are going nowhere.

“In a nice way, we’re going to be around – you can either have us inside the tent or outside the tent.

“The conversations we’re having with management now are quite productive and positive, and they can choose whether to be good or not.”

Mr Day also called for the laws to change so that unions may have the legal right to rule out “sweetheart unions” and management associations.

“Perhaps we need a change of government, but you should have the ability to bring in the real union and throw out the sweetheart union,” he said.

“You shouldn’t have to do the impossible twice. It is clear that the collective voice has spoken.”

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