LloydsPharmacy rejects ‘enhanced redundancy’ claim from ex-Sainsbury’s staff
LloydsPharmacy has told “hundreds” of staff whose roles were transferred to the multiple when it bought Sainsbury’s pharmacies in 2015 that they are not entitled to enhanced redundancy pay.
Yesterday (May 10) the company, which is closing all its Sainsbury’s branches this year, informed staff involved in a collective grievance process that they will only be entitled to statutory redundancy, which amounts to a week for every year worked over the age of 22 and a week and a half for every year worked over the age of 41.
Many staff members transferred to the multiple in 2015 under TUPE legislation had thought they were entitled to an enhanced package amounting to seven weeks’ pay for every full year worked, as per their prior arrangement with Sainsbury’s.
Pharmacists’ Defence Association director Paul Day told Pharmacy Network News the grievance claim involves “hundreds” of staff members, both pharmacists and non-pharmacists.
In yesterday’s letter, LloydsPharmacy commercial director John Acland claimed a January 2015 HR policy document that refers to redundancy entitlements “is not a contractual document and does not give a contractual right to enhanced redundancy payments for ex-Sainsbury’s colleagues”.
Mr Acland said “a few” ex-Sainsbury’s contracts have a right to enhanced redundancy pay “expressly written into them, but “all other Sainsbury’s contracts do not contain that express contractual right”.
He also acknowledged “that there was a clear statement at the time that colleagues transferred that LloydsPharmacy would honour enhanced redundancy pay for 12 months after transfer,” but claimed this had been a “temporary, non-contractual benefit”.
Mr Acland rejected claims that enhanced redundancy “has become a right through custom and practice” and has been paid “in all circumstances” involving ex-Sainsbury’s employees, claiming that since a new policy was adopted following a company restructure in 2020 “no enhanced redundancy has been paid”.
“I appreciate that my decision will be disappointing for colleagues,” Mr Acland said.
The PDA, which represented pharmacist members involved in the grievance process, said the result was “disappointing” but not “entirely unexpected as it continues the company’s stated position until this point’.
“Our legal team will now assess the outcome and consider the next steps, including the possibility of lodging an appeal,” it added. Any appeal must be lodged with the company’s employee relation team by 5pm on May 17..
“An appeal would be the last stage of the process available within the company, and further action would need to be via the courts, such as an employment tribunal.
“We will provide further advice about this in due course.”