Further strikes due at Lloyds Pharmacy
About 300 staff to step up industrial action over pay and trade union recognition
Lloyds Pharmacy workers picket the Nutgrove branch in Dublin in June. Mandate members working at the chain plan further one-day strikes for August 18th and August 25th. Photograph: Garrett White
About 300 Lloyds Pharmacy staff plan further strikes in coming weeks at the chain over pay and trade union recognition.
Members of trade union Mandate have staged a series of strikes at the pharmacist in recent months. The union confirmed on Friday that staff would step up industrial action by holding further one-day strikes on August 18th and August 25th.
Initially Mandate members stopped work for an hour but union official Gerry Light said they were now holding one-day strikes as the company had continued to refuse to deal with them.
News of further industrial action came as Lloyds issued a statement saying that a majority of staff had voted to accept a deal on pay and hours negotiated with its internal colleague-representative committee.
The chain does not recognise trade unions, preferring instead to deal with the workers’ committee, which it says negotiates independently on behalf of staff.
Lloyds said workers had voted for improved terms and conditions, pay scales and a “banded-hours policy” that gives staff certainty about working hours.
It is understood that 52 per cent of Lloyds workers who took part in the ballot voted for the proposals while 48 per cent voted against.
Mr Lightly said the proposals fell far short of what Mandate members sought and questioned whether the ballot was actually secret.
A British company called My Voice conducted the vote and workers were required to give their surname and employee number to participate. “In our view, that fails any kind of credibility test,” Mr Lightly said.
A Lloyds spokesman stressed that the company had no information on any workers who voted and explained that names and numbers were sought only to verify that participants were, in fact, staff.
Mandate argues that Lloyds should recognise its workers’ right to have the union represent them and comply with a Labour Court recommendation that both sides sit down and discuss the issues in dispute.
Lloyds maintains that only about 200 of its 900-plus Irish workers are union members, but has conceded that the strikes are having an impact on the stores where they take place.
Mandate maintains that it represents about 300 people from a group of 750 shop floor staff.