The General Secretary of Mandate Trade Union, John Douglas, has written to Lloyds Pharmacy’s Managing Director, Paul Reilly, calling on him to avoid “further damage” to the company and prevent future industrial action by simply agreeing to a meeting with the workers’ representatives.
In a letter sent to Mr Reilly on Tuesday, 24th July, Mr Douglas said:
“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.”
He added, “The continued failure by the company to engage despite the recommendation of the Labour Court and the calls to do so by so many politicians and commentators… has the potential to do serious damage to the corporate identity of LloydsPharmacy in Ireland and further afield.”
Mr Douglas concluded the letter by saying: “Therefore, in order to avoid any further damage and further inconvenience to customers and patients, we call on you to take up this offer in a manner of your choosing.”
Lloyds Pharmacy has so far failed to respond to the letter and Mandate Trade Union have criticised the company for their failure to engage.
“The failure by senior management in Lloyds to respond to a request by their workers’ representatives shows the level of disregard they have, not only for their staff, but also for the customers,” said Mr Douglas.
“The responsibility for these ongoing strikes and their negative impact on the public is entirely down to Lloyds Pharmacy management,” he said.
“Lloyds Pharmacy are more willing to spend tens of thousands of euros on expensive advertising campaigns and losing revenue in 40 stores than they are resolving this dispute.
“Let’s be clear here, Mandate do not want any further strikes to go ahead. Our members do not want to be on strike. They want to look after their customers and their patients.”
“However, there is only one solution to this impasse and that is for management in Lloyds to accept and respect the human rights of their workers and engage with them through their trade union, Mandate.”
Mr Douglas thanked the public who have supported the workers since the beginning of the dispute.
“Since this dispute began seven weeks ago, the public have supported the workers to the hilt. They’ve bought them coffee. They’ve dropped down food to the striking workers. And they’ve stood with them on the picket lines.”
He added, “The Labour Court have backed the demands of the workers. The Minister for Business, Heather Humphreys, has called on the company to sit down and negotiatiate. Thousands of members of the public have written to the company and signed petitions demanding they respect their workers’ right to be represented by a trade union. The rest of the trade union movement have called on the company to allow their workers representation. The Seanad has unanimously passed a motion supporting the workers.”
“It seems the only people who are determined to allow these strikes to go ahead are senior management in Lloyds Pharmacy. However, our members will not be deterred. Tomorrow they will gather to determine the next steps in our campaign. The only people who can stop this, are Lloyds management. And once again, we’re calling on them to do the responsible thing by their workers and by their customers.”
NOTE TO EDITOR
The strike relates to a claim by Mandate Trade Union on behalf of its 270 members employed by LloydsPharmacy which includes:
Mandate Trade Union members employed by Lloyds Pharmacy across Ireland will gather in Dublin to attend a general meeting and participate in a strike at the company’s head office in United Drug House, Magna Business Park, Magna Drive & Citywest Road, Gibbons, Dublin 24 today (Friday, 27th July 2018) at 1pm.
The action will be the seventh strike by the workers but significantly it will be the first time workers from 40 different stores attend one picket.
A general meeting of Mandate Trade Union members will take place in the Citywest Hotel from 11am to 12:45pm and the strike/protest will take place directly afterwards, commencing at approximately 1pm.
The strike takes place as the company continues their refusal to implement a Labour Court recommendation which stated that the company should allow their workers trade union representation.
The general meeting will allow Mandate Trade Union members employed by Lloyds Pharmacy to determine the next steps in their campaign for decent work and fair pay in the company.
A number of workers on zero hour contracts and low pay will be available for interview at the protest.
LloydsPharmacy is Ireland’s largest pharmaceutical chain operating 88 stores across the country with approximately 800 workers employed in their pharmacies.
LloydsPharmacy is owned by the McKesson Corporation which is the largest pharmaceutical company in the world with revenues of €177 billion in 2017/18 – more than double the revenue of the Irish state.
McKesson also own UDG Healthcare (formerly United Drug) which is also headquartered in Ireland, and where the workers are afforded their right to trade union representation (SIPTU and Unite represent staff in Ireland).