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Pharmacists’ union the PDA affiliates to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions

The PDA Union, which represents employed and locum pharmacists across Northern Ireland is the latest independent trade union to affiliate to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

Wed 11th November 2020 PDA Union

Congress is the largest civil society organisation on the island of Ireland, representing and campaigning on behalf of some 800,000 working people across the island of Ireland, of which over 200,000 work in Northern Ireland.

The PDA Union’s affiliation will commence in January 2021 and will amplify the voice at work of employed and locum pharmacists. The PDA Union represents pharmacy students, pre-registration trainees and pharmacists in community pharmacy, hospitals, health boards, GP federations and practising elsewhere in Northern Ireland.

Leon O’Hagan, a Primary Care Pharmacist working in Banbridge and PDA Union National Executive Committee member, said: “Just as pharmacists achieve more by acting collectively as the PDA Union, so trade unions achieve more by acting collectively in trade union federations, such as the ICTU. Our affiliation adds another route through which we can champion the interests of our members.”

Congress is the recognised national centre for trade unions in Ireland and as the voice of working people, it seeks to achieve a just society – one which recognises the rights of all workers and citizens to enjoy the prosperity and fulfilment which leads to a good quality of life.

Owen Reidy, Assistant General Secretary of ICTU and its leader in Northern Ireland added:
“We welcome the PDA to our family of affiliates. Workers are always and without exception better off when they combine their strength and intelligence and act together. The same principle operates for their organised trade unions as they can act collectively in the political, social and economic spheres, and use that solidarity for the benefit of every working person.”

Congress shapes and influences policy in two jurisdictions in key areas, such as taxation, employment legislation, education and social policy.

The direct professional relationship between the pharmacist and their patient is important with many of the factors that impact upon the working environment being shaped internationally. Pharmacist trade unions recognise that just as the largest employers are increasingly multinational, the employees need an international voice too.

The PDA Union is already a member of the EPhEU – the European federation for community pharmacist trade unions. Congress is the sole Irish affiliate of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) – the representative body for trade unions at European level and is also affiliated to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). This further connects the PDA Union with colleagues facing shared issues in other jurisdictions.

Leon O’Hagan concluded: “We are delighted to have joined Congress at a time that more and more employees in all sectors are recognising the need for trade unions as the consequences of the pandemic impact upon employment. Affiliation to ICTU will be a benefit to pharmacists and provides the structure through which we can contribute to activity that helps others too.”



Note to Editors

About the PDA

The PDA (The Pharmacists’ Defence Association) is the largest pharmacist membership organisation and only independent trade union exclusively for pharmacists in the UK.

PDA Union has a certificate of independence and is a member of Unions21, the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU), Health Campaigns Together and Employed Pharmacists of the European Union (EPhEU).

The PDA and the PDA Union have more than 30,000 members, including more than 700 in Northern Ireland.

For press enquiries, please contact:

Shemaine Rose
PR & Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)121 513 0950

About the ICTU

ICTU Northern Ireland Committee website:
ICTU website:
ICTU on Twitter: @NIC_ICTU

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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