Boots UK has agreed to grant a five per cent pay increase to its pharmacists following a collaborative agreement with the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA). This raise acknowledges the unique market conditions faced by pharmacists in the community pharmacy sector, Boots UK and PDA said in a joint statement on Oct. 9.
According to the statement, the pay increase applies to all pharmacists within the PDA Union’s bargaining unit, except for those who joined or received a pay raise after August 2023. Moreover, trainee pharmacists or those not meeting performance standards are not eligible for the raise.
Additionally, pharmacists and store managers will receive a pro-rata, one-time non-consolidated payment of £750 in August 2024. This payment serves as recognition for their dedication to establishing and providing new core and advanced NHS services, particularly in light of the substantial changes anticipated in the upcoming year, the joint statement said.
The services include new medicines, hypertension, contraception, and common conditions services in England, the clinical community pharmacy service in Wales, and the Pharmacy First services in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The combination of the five per cent pay rise and the one-off £750 payment results in a comprehensive pay and benefits package of 6.5 per cent, the statement said. To qualify, individuals must maintain continuous employment from November 1, 2023, until the payroll date in August 2024.
In accordance with the September 2022 pay agreement, pharmacists who worked on non-planned days with less than 48 hours’ notice were eligible for a pro-rated £100 payment. The updated agreement maintains this policy, extending the pro-rated payments to include Sundays and bank holiday Mondays when notice is provided on the same day.
Eligible pharmacists are defined as qualified members of the bargaining unit who are employed on November 1, 2023, and remain employed at the August 2024 payroll date and who are not in their notice period.
The joint statement emphasised the crucial role played by pharmacists in providing accessible healthcare in the community. “Pharmacists continue to perform a vital role in the provision of accessible healthcare in the community. It’s a role we value immensely, and we’re committed to working together to champion a fulfilling future for all our healthcare professionals.”
“We thank them for their continued commitment in looking after our patients and communities,” the statement added.
This new agreement resulted from constructive discussions between the chain and the union, following a consultation with PDA members, the statement noted.
In 2022, negotiations between Boots and PDA were influenced by price inflation, leading to a 4.5 per cent pay increase for Boots pharmacists. However, individuals who received a raise after August of that year could qualify for a top-up if their increase was below 4.5 per cent.
In June, the UK’s largest multiple reported a post-tax profit of £15 million for 2022, a remarkable rebound from a loss of over £100 million in 2021. Concurrently, Boots announced plans to close 300 branches in close proximity.