Boots on the back foot
29 November 2017 #Employee relations
As we blogged in February this year, Boots’ existing agreement with its in-house union, the Boots Pharmacists’ Association (BPA) prevented an application by an independent trade union, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union (PDAU), for recognition for collective bargaining.
Some of the affected pharmacists who were unhappy with the BPA took the only step left open to them and made a statutory application to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) for it to be derecognised.
This was the first such de-recognition case to reach the CAC. Interestingly, the CAC decided to proceed without a hearing and last week it held that the application can pass to the next stage because it was persuaded by the PDAU’s evidence that:
- over 10% of the affected workers clearly favour derecognition of the BPA; and
- there is likely to be a majority in favour of derecognition.
There is now a four-week window for negotiation. If the dispute is not settled this way, there will be a ballot. The in-house union will be derecognised if a majority of the votes are in favour, provided that those votes represent at least 40 per cent of the affected workers.
Boots could have avoided this situation if it had been able to show that enough of its pharmacists were happy to be represented by the BPA.
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