Further industrial action seems likely at Lloyd Pharmacy

Mandate says workers involved in industrial action reject new proposals on terms, conditions

Workers at Lloyds Pharmacy in Nutgrove shopping centre stage strike action. Photograph: Garrett White/The Irish Times

Workers at Lloyds Pharmacy in Nutgrove shopping centre stage strike action. Photograph: Garrett White/The Irish Times

 

Further industrial action at LloydsPharmacy now seems likely after a group of workers who have staged several days of strike action over recent weeks voted overwhelmingly to reject proposals for terms and conditions drawn up between the company and an internal representative body.

The trade union Mandate said there was a vote by 96 percent against the proposals on Friday among the workers concerned.

However, a vote of the full workforce on the new proposals organised by the internal staff representation body is due to get underway next week.

About 270 staff at the company, who work in about 40 outlets, staged a seventh day of strike action on Friday in a dispute which centres on pay, conditions and trade union recognition.

About 160 of these workers attended a general meeting organised by Mandate and later staged a protest outside the company’s head office at Citywest in Dublin.

LloydsPharmacy said on Friday that its colleague representative committee (CRC) represented the majority of colleagues at the company. It maintained that Mandate represented a minority of staff, at less than 20 per cent of the total.

“We understand that the LloydsPharmacy CRC, the employee-elected representative body which negotiates for and represents all LloydsPharmacy colleagues, intends to hold an official ballot next week on further proposed enhancements to colleagues terms and conditions”, the company said.

The union said the dispute centred on claims by the workers for a pay increase and the introduction of incremental pay scales, the introduction of a sick pay scheme and security of hours and the elimination of zero-hour contracts. It also involves improvements in annual leave entitlements and public holiday premiums.

Forthcoming ballot

The company has denied that it operates a system of zero-hour contracts .

LloydsPharmacy said in the forthcoming ballot of the workforce, staff would vote on proposals which included the introduction of pay scales across the business, the introduction of a new long-service recognition benefit providing additional annual leave for relevant colleagues, the funding of all pharmacist fees for pharmacists, the development and implementation of a voluntary redundancy scheme, with CRC input, across the business and the introduction of banded hours for each member of staff, giving them unambiguous certainty of hours.

“These proposals, represent a further enhancement of colleagues terms and conditions and follow the introduction of a new pay agreement in June last. This agreement was supported by a majority of LloydsPharmacy colleagues and delivered increased pay for all colleagues, at all levels, across our business. “

Earlier on Friday, the general secretary of Mandate John Douglas called on LloydsPharmacy senior management to avoid “further damage” to the company and prevent future industrial action by simply agreeing to a meeting with the workers’ representatives.

“As we enter into the seventh strike action on the 27th July of what is a very damaging dispute, we once again offer the company on a ‘without prejudice’ basis an opportunity to discuss the issues in dispute and how best they might be resolved. These discussions could be facilitated by trusted third parties or by some other mechanism which maintains the integrity of all sides.”

LloydsPharmacy has not yet commented on the developments on Friday.