Mandate Trade Union has today (16th August) announced two more days of industrial action in Lloyds Pharmacy as their dispute over low pay, zero hour contracts and the denial of trade union representation continues.
Up to 270 Lloyds Pharmacy workers in almost 40 stores across Ireland will continue their industrial action, scheduled to take place this Saturday, 18th August 2018 and Saturday, 25th August 2018.
Mandate’s Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said the strikes were inevitable following the company’s continued refusal to engage with the workers’ designated representatives.
“For many years now, Lloyds Pharmacy workers have been subjected to extremely low pay, many with over 10 years of experience yet still working for the minimum wage, while others are still employed on zero hour contracts. The company took away their sick pay scheme and only reintroduced it when our members joined their union and became active.”
Mr Light added, “It is regrettable that Lloyds management continue to inconvenience the public and their customers by maintaining their fundamentalist stance, forcing their own staff to strike rather than allow them their democratic rights.”
Mr Light dismissed the company’s claims that an internal representative body, referred to as the “CRC”, has negotiated improvements to conditions of employment.
“Mandate Trade Union has received reports that Lloyds management deliberately distorted a recent vote on the company’s proposals by allowing up to 70 workers in head office to vote on other workers’ conditions of employment that have no bearing on them. If this is the case, it is nothing short of a scandal.
“Furthermore,” added Mr Light, “we are hearing reports that not only did senior management have the potential to vote and maintain workers on inadequate terms and conditions of employment, but that they were encouraging other head office staff to participate in the ballot also.
“When you factor in that every person voting had to supply their name, clearly this would influence the vote. We are now calling on management in Lloyds Pharmacy to respond to these allegations immediately.”
He added, “There is only one legitimate, independent representative body for workers in Lloyds Pharmacy, and that is their trade union Mandate. At a recent meeting attended by 150 of our members employed by Lloyds Pharmacy, they voted against the company proposals by 96 percent, and that is why we are on strike again this Saturday.”
“Nobody is falling for this company’s anti-union plan. Management established the CRC, an internal yellow union which is both controlled and financed by the company.”
He said, “Our members believe they deserve better than €10.60 per hour and we support them. Lloyds Pharmacy is owned by the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, McKesson, with revenues of €183 billion in 2017/18. They can easily afford to pay our members a decent living wage, with a sufficient sick pay scheme, secure hour contracts and improved public holiday and annual leave entitlements.”
Mr Light concluded by saying: “The most recent gerrymandering of the vote on terms and conditions of employment for Lloyds Pharamacy workers, if true, typifies the dishonest nature of this company.
“The company has been spending tens of thousands of euros taking out advertisements in national newspapers denying the use of zero hour contracts in the company, despite Mandate publishing several contracts. Management have made borderline defamatory claims about their own workers on the picket lines, and now they are manipulating ballots to suit their own ends. This is totally unacceptable and calls into question their previous ballot which was only passed by 50.6 percent in favour, or six votes.”
The strike takes place as Lloyds management continues their refusal to implement a Labour Court recommendation which stated that the company should allow their workers trade union representation. A motion in the Seanad was unanimously supported by Senators calling on Lloyds Pharmacy to engage with the workers’ designated trade union, and the Minister for Business, Heather Humphreys has also called on the company to engage with the workers through their trade union.
This strike relates to a claim by Mandate Trade Union on behalf of its 270 members employed by LloydsPharmacy which includes:
Lloyds Pharmacy workers have participated in seven work stoppages over the last two months with the 8th and 9th dates set for this Saturday (18th August) and next Saturday (25th August).
NOTE TO EDITOR
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 €183.88 billion in 2017 – more than double the revenue of the Irish state.
McKesson also own UDG Healthcare (formerly United Drug) which is headquartered in Ireland, and where the workers are afforded their right to trade union representation (SIPTU and Unite represent staff in Ireland).
A full list of striking stores is available here.
Lloyds Pharmacy argues it does not operate zero hour contracts despite Mandate publishing a number of the contracts. A number of employment experts have also stated that the contracts do not guarantee any hours of employment for workers.
The Company argues that it already negotiates with an internal staff representative body, the ‘CRC’, however this body was established by management, is funded by the company to the tune of €10,000 and has never allowed elections to take place.