The PDA Union is pushing for Boots pharmacists to receive an across-the-board pay increase of 4.5 per cent and demanding that Northern Ireland Boots pharmacists are paid at the same rate as colleagues in Britain.
The PDAU, which has represented Boots pharmacists since entering into a recognition agreement last year after a long-run battle, recently submitted its pay claim for 2020 to the multiple.
The pay claim, which would take effect from November 1 if agreed to by Boots, asks that pharmacists in the bargaining unit receive a three per cent increase to match inflation, as well as an additional 1.5 per cent “to recognise the commitment, flexibility and hard work of our members during the Covid-19 crisis”.
The PDAU is also seeking confirmation that from November the company will abolish Northern Ireland pay rates and pay all pharmacists the rate applicable to the rest of the UK.
Under the terms proposed by the union, lunchtime working would be paid at the full hourly rate “in addition to ensuring every pharmacist is able to take the minimum break,” and pharmacists would receive a £50 compensation payment for being put on a shift with less than 48 hours’ notice, as well as an on-call standby payment of £50 (£100 for Sundays and bank holidays).
The PDAU said the claim was put together in consultation with regional and divisional reps “who consulted as many members as possible,” and that the proposals were aimed at tackling issues such as high staff turnover.
Both parties will now enter into talks on the proposals with the hope of reaching an agreement by November.
When asked if the 2020 pay claim was asking for more than last year, PDAU director Paul Day told Pharmacy Network News both claims were “equally robust”.
He said Boots pharmacist salaries had failed to keep pace with inflation for at least 10 years and that these proposals would address this.
On the Northern Ireland proposals, Mr Day said that while the cost of living was lower in parts of Northern Ireland the same was true of other parts of the UK where Boots pharmacists are paid the same rate as one another.