Lloyds Pharmacy workers to strike next week over pay

Dispute concerns trade union recognition and zero-hour contracts

 More than 200 staff in 50 Lloyds Pharmacy stores  will strike on Thursday, June 14th. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

More than 200 staff in 50 Lloyds Pharmacy stores will strike on Thursday, June 14th. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

Lloyds Pharmacy workers will strike next week in a dispute over pay, trade union recognition and zero-hour contracts.

Trade union Mandate confirmed that 92 per cent of Lloyds’ staff who voted in a ballot on industrial action backed striking.

As a result, more than 200 staff in 50 Lloyds Pharmacy stores – the chain has 94 in total – will strike on Thursday June 14th.

Gerry Light, Mandate assistant general secretary, said the company’s refusal to accept a Labour Court recommendation to negotiate with the union sparked the vote.

“Our members do not want to go on strike, but have been left with no other option,” he claimed.

“Lloyds Pharmacy workers have repeatedly requested that their employer negotiate with their representatives, Mandate trade union.”

Mr Light warned that Thursday’s action could escalate if Lloyds fails to resolve the dispute.

Mandate submitted a claim to the Irish company in February last year for a pay increase and incremental scales, sick pay, security of hours and the end of zero-hour contracts.

Lloyds does not recognise trade unions but has a staff representative committee with which it recently negotiated a new deal on pay and conditions.

‘Flawed’ agreement

A spokeswoman explained that the deal favoured lower-paid workers and pointed out that the company would implement it this month.

She argued that Mandate represented just 20 per cent of the group’s 1,000 staff.

“This agreement will provide enhanced terms and conditions for all our colleagues,” Lloyds’ statement said. “It includes both pay increases and the reintroduction of a sick pay scheme.”

However, Mr Light suggested that a ballot on the agreement was flawed as it was not secret.

“Workers had to provide their name and their staff number in order to vote, and some felt they would have a black mark on their name if they voted against the proposals,” he said.

Lloyds maintains that the ballot was “completely independent” and was overseen by unconnected organisation.