Monday 24 September 2018

'This action is as a last resort' - Lloyds Pharmacy workers to strike over pay and conditions demands

Anne-Marie Walsh

CUSTOMERS of Lloyds Pharmacy have been urged to shop elsewhere tomorrow when 30 stores are hit by a one hour strike.

Up to 200 workers will take part in a stoppage at locations across the country from 10am to 11am to get a pay rise, sick leave scheme and better terms and conditions.

Their union, Mandate, apologised for the inconvenience to the public but said it has left workers with no alternative.

It accused the company of refusing to hold talks with the union despite a Labour Court recommendation that it do so.

Mandate has demanded a pay rise, pay scales that rise in increments, and the roll out of a sick pay scheme.

It also wants better holiday entitlements and zero hour contracts to be axed.

However, Lloyds denies that there are zero hour contracts in place and said it has already brokered a pay deal with a committee representing most of its staff.

Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light asked customers to support the workers and get their medicines from an alternative supplier while the dispute is underway.

“Our members do not want to be on strike, and are only taking this action as a last resort,” he said.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to the public but we ask for their understanding as our members are forced to take action.”

In a statement, the union said just 30 of the 88 stores were selected to cause as little inconvenience to the public as possible.

However, it warned that the industrial action may escalate.

In a statement, the pharmaceutical chain said measures have been put in place to minimise the impact of the industrial action.

It said Mandate had decided to strike following a ballot of just 13pc of its staff.

The chain said it has agreed a pay rise backdated to last April, to eliminate payment of the minimum wage and roll out a new sick pay scheme with a Colleague Representative Committee.

It said the committee represents most of its workers and they voted in favour of the deal.

“Contrary to deliberately misleading information, we do not have and never had zero-hour contracts,” said the statement.

It said further talks with the worker committee on pay increments start this week.

Lloyds Pharmacy Director, Pat Watt, said it is extremely regrettable that Mandate has pushed ahead with industrial action, two weeks after the “positive breakthrough” of increased pay and benefits for the workforce.

The company is owned by the McKesson Corporation and is the largest pharmaceutical company in the world with revenues of €168.85bn last year.

Online Editors

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