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Boots Enews – March 2021

This issue has been written by the PDA Reps within Boots. We encourage you to share this mailing with colleagues.

Thu 11th March 2021 The PDA

In this issue:

  • PDA provides support for pre-regs at Boots
  • John Lester shares why he became a Boots Rep
  • Health & Safety in the workplace
  • Pay parity for Boots pharmacists in Northern Ireland
  • Reps in-depth

This issue has been written by the PDA Reps within Boots. We encourage you to share this mailing with colleagues. 

PDA provides support for pre-regs and prov-regs at Boots 

By Paul Flynn, PDA Regional Rep 

This year certainly hasn’t been the pre-registration year that our future pharmacists were expecting when anticipating their next step to join the profession. We know that many have been working additional hours to offer support during the pandemic, as well as trying to maintain their development and meet training requirements, often working in pressurised environments.

The PDA has been at the forefront of supporting pre-regs. We have a network of pre-reg representatives and if you would like to find out more about being a rep, please click here.

The pre-reg reps meet virtually on a regular basis to ensure that issues with employers, tutors, and their personal wellbeing are discussed. The PDA has also been supporting members with our four new equality networks, ensuring that we can listen, understand and work with members whose work may be impacted by inequality.

The PDA has provided an online programme for pre-regs to assist them with their revision for the assessment, as well as providing skills training for the roles they will be moving into (learn more).

Over the last 12 months, the PDA has listened to prov-reg members’ views and supported them throughout the transition to provisional registration and towards their assessment examinations. For further information and support please visit here.

Paul Flynn is the union lead for supporting pre-reg members at Boots. If you aren’t already a member, membership is free throughout your pre-reg year and you can join online.

If you haven’t already had an email from Paul, please get in touch. If you would prefer, you can also contact your local rep and be added to their mailing list.

John Lester shares why he became a Boots Rep

By John Lester, West of England Regional Representative and
Divisional Representative for the South

I started working for Boots in 1976. My mother worked at the Hatfield store and got me a Saturday job breaking up cardboard boxes and tidying the stockroom – the rest, as they say, is history!

I was very fortunate to spend my early years after qualification, learning my trade in lots of different stores in and around the home counties. I then moved down to the West Country as a store manager, and did various temporary district manager roles in central London, and the North West. I also spent two years in the Channel Islands managing our flagship store in Jersey. My time as an area manager helped me to develop my understanding and knowledge of employment relations, and I’ve always tried to treat people how I would like to be treated. It’s this desire to make sure people are treated fairly and reasonably that made me want to become a PDA Representative.

Since becoming a union rep, the PDA has invested time in training me further on employment rights, Health & Safety, and Negotiation skills, which means I am better prepared to support members that need our help. I have met some fantastic people within our rep network whose passion and enthusiasm for the role is infectious, the support provided by PDA staff enables reps to do their roles effectively.

As a divisional representative, I’m also involved with the pay negotiations for the pharmacist and pre-reg populations in Boots, via the Joint Negotiating Body, which is a great privilege and honour. We listen to the views of members about their pay claim and supported by Paul Moloney, national officer, we submit a claim each year on behalf of the bargaining unit.

If you’re a Boots pharmacist, and are not already a PDA member, then I would urge you to join, so that collectively our voice become louder. In addition, you will benefit from having the support of an independent trade union behind you.

As someone who has spent nearly 45 years working for Boots, I have seen many changes, but the one thing that still drives me to get out of bed in the morning, is the people I meet on a daily basis, and supporting them to be their best.

Health & Safety in the workplace 

A key role of a trade union is to ensure the Health & Safety and wellbeing of its members in the workplace. In reality, this is not just about slips and trips but also other issues that impact you day-to-day in the workplace including abuse and violence, work-related stress, and other incidents that may compromise your safety. The PDA campaigns to raise awareness of these issues across the profession including our safer pharmacies campaign.

Your PDA representatives at Boots are trained Health & Safety reps and support this work. Their role is to address any issues members raise, liaise with the company Health & Safety officials, and improve the Health & Safety of your workplaces across the UK. Reps can perform workplace risk assessments,  independent investigations where our members’ safety has been compromised and feedback workplace improvements to the company. If you have any concerns, these can be raised with your rep or one of the lead reps. Here are their details:

Ian Welford  –
Richard Evans –
Gordon Finlayson –

The Health & Safety reps have recently negotiated regular monthly meetings to discuss current matters with the company team. Our primary objective is a healthy and safe working environment for all pharmacists and we want to achieve this by dealing with issues or potential issues earlier, locally, and together to prevent escalation and keep people safe.

During the pandemic, Health & Safety concerns and new ways of working have become paramount and the PDA has campaigned on many issues and provided members with resources. Including the Covid-19 Risk Assessment Tool.

Keep safe and please contact the reps, they are there to help.

Learn more

Pay parity for Boots pharmacists in Northern Ireland

By Richard Evans, PDA Regional Representative for Northern Ireland

This year has seen an unprecedented strain on the working experiences of pharmacists and company finances. That means the achievement of the PDA Joint Negotiating Body team of the divisional representatives and PDA staff is worthy of much praise. At last, the pharmacists in the bargaining unit in Northern Ireland have the same pay scales as their colleagues in the rest of the UK.

Northern Ireland pharmacists have suffered for many years from lower rates of pay than their peers in the UK, whether employees or locums. This has resulted in the movement of pharmacists to other regions of the UK and to the Republic of Ireland. We hope that the pay parity achieved within Boots will lead to other companies following their lead and to a retention of pharmacists in Northern Ireland.

What does this mean for Northern Ireland pharmacists in Boots?

A great step was taken by the union in the 2019 pay negotiations when newly qualified pharmacists had a substantial increase in their starter pay where parity was reached. This year in light of the financial climate all pharmacists in their job roles that are below the market minimum for their role are to have their salaries adjusted and backdated to 1st November 2020.

The new pay ranges are available to view on Pharmacy Unscripted. Please note Boots has issued an updated assessment of store levels and an associated market realignment for store managers from levels 1 to 4 now to small, medium, and large. Line managers will have the information required as to what level store you manage.

The PDA is committed to working towards equality, well-being, and a work/life balance for pharmacists. If you would like to join the PDA please follow thislink.

It’s now time for our negotiating team to start compiling this year’s pay claim, please give your views when you receive the PDA survey. We wish our negotiating team well in their commitment to obtain a fair deal for all pharmacists and pre-regs.

Boots Reps in-depth

By Jayesh Ladva, PDA Regional Rep 


I have been a member of the PDA since I was a student and felt they were the only organisation that had the interests of pharmacists at the heart of what they do. They give me real courage when they challenge employers, the government, and the regulator to support the interests of individual pharmacists’ by proactively influencing the professional, ethical, and employment agenda.

Having worked in pharmacy for over 15 years gaining experience from hospitals, supermarkets, communities, and even pharmacy automation, I understand the challenges we face. I have actively campaigned for pharmacists’ rights, better working conditions, and enhanced pay.  At present, I am an Advanced Practitioner Pharmacist working in the North West area and enjoy building great relationships with both internal and external stakeholders.

After the PDA made history by derecognising the ‘sweetheart’ arrangement between Boots and the Boots Pharmacists’ Association (BPA) and subsequently gained formal trade union recognition, I was inspired by the resilience, determination, and sheer will of the PDA to make a difference to pharmacists’ working at Boots. I was keen to get involved and become a workplace representative.

Training was provided by the PDA in conjunction with the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) which was brilliant and gave reps a chance to meet and share experiences, whilst learning the core skills of being a workplace trade union official.

In my role, I hold a seat on the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) which meets quarterly to discuss matters of Health & Safety as well as issues affecting Boots pharmacists. In the spirit of partnership and resolving issues early, more locally, and together, we try and come up with joint solutions to problems. In addition to this, I have represented pharmacists in disciplinary, grievance, and redundancy consultations and managed to secure a positive outcome for members.

The question some pharmacists ask is, “Why should I join the PDA?”. Well, if I asked you whether you would drive a car without insurance, you would probably answer “‘No!”. So, why would you practice as a pharmacist without having indemnity insurance? Being a member of the PDA is a ‘no brainer’, not only do I get professional indemnity insurance, I have access to professional advice and union membership. I also get training and development opportunities, pro-active lobbying on my behalf, £1 per member donated to the Pharmacist Support charity and access to PDA Plus which gives multiple discounts on a range of benefits. In addition, my trade union, the PDA, is recognised within Boots; negotiating my pay, terms, and conditions, and consulting on other matters to improve my working life.

For more information and to join the PDA, visit:









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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
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