Mandate call on Lloyds Pharmacy to “stop spinning” to the media and resolve dispute before strikes escalate

Friday 24 August 2018

Mandate Trade Union has called on Lloyds Pharmacy to respect their workers’ right to trade union representation before management do even more damage to the business.

Responding to a press release issued by the company today, Mandate Trade Union wishes to correct the record:

  1. Mandate lodged a pay and benefits claim with Lloyds Pharmacy in February 2017. At first Lloyds agreed to attend a Workplace Relations Commission hearing and Mandate agreed to a delay in proceedings at the request of the company. Immediately afterwards Lloyds management set about establishing an internal company controlled body called the Colleague Representative Committee (CRC) in order to avoid dealing with an independent trade union.
  2. The CRC was established by senior management who admitted to the Labour Court that it funded the body to the tune of €10,000 last year.
  3. The two ballots on proposals from the company to the CRC were tainted by the company:
    1. allowing senior management and up to 70 head office staff who would not be impacted by the proposals to ballot on them.
    2. Denying a number of staff effected by the proposals the opportunity to vote on them.
  4. The first ballot was passed by 50.6% in favour and 49.4% against (6 votes in the difference)
  5. The second ballot was passed by 52% in favour and 48% against (33 votes in the difference)
  6. In order to participate in the two ballots, staff had to provide both their names and their staff identification number, meaning the vote was not truly anonymous.
  7. Staff have told Mandate they felt intimidated into not only voting, but voting in a particular way.
  8. Mandate members balloted on the proposals from the company and rejected them by 96%.
  9. Mandate Trade Union represents 270 workers (35% of eligible membership) in Lloyds Pharmacy who all opted to be represented by an independent trade union.
  10. No member of staff in Lloyds Pharmacy has opted to join the CRC . Senior management imposed this body on their workers.
  11. The CRC has never had democratic elections. The staff on the committee have been selected by senior management.
  12. Lloyds Pharmacy is incorrect in stating that the CRC deal “has been endorsed by the majority of staff in two separate ballots”. Only 37% of the eligible vote voted in favour of the proposals, despite pressure from the company.
  13. The proposals from Lloyds Pharmacy do not provide for a system of secure hour contracts, as claimed by management.
  14. There are workers in Lloyds who are currently earning less than the €10.60 per hour claimed by management (€10ph is the starting rate).
  15. In April 2018, the Labour Court issued a recommendation calling on the company to negotiate with Mandate Trade Union.
  16. Minister for Business Heather Humphreys has called on the company to accept this recommendation.
  17. The Seanad has unanimously passed a motion calling on the company to negotiate with the workers through their trade union.

Mandate’s General Secretary John Douglas condemned the company and called on them to “stop spinning and make some real efforts towards achieving a satisfactory resolution to this dispute.”

Mr Douglas said: “It’s totally irresponsible and wreckless of management to continue this behaviour. They have called on Mandate members in Lloyds to withdraw their strike action tomorrow, but didn’t have the courtesy of writing to their workers’ union directly. They want to run a campaign through the media, rather than afford their workers their rights.”

He added, “None of the benefits that have been won to date would have occurred without our members joining Mandate and taking action over the last two months. By pretending that the CRC has achieved these improvements to conditions of employment, this company, which is owned by McKesson Corporation – the largest pharmaceutical company in the wold, is adopting the most obvious and transparrent US style union busting tactics.

“That won’t work in Ireland,” said Mr Douglas.

“We do not want to be on strike. Our members do not want to be on strike. There is only one organisation who can stop tomorrow’s strike and the strikes now scheduled for September, October and November, and that is Lloyds management. All they need to do is show some respect for the workers who built this company in Ireland by contacting Mandate and engaging in meaningful negotiations.

He concluded: “Failure to do so will mean further damage to the Lloyds Pharmacy business and the Lloyds Pharmacy brand. It will also mean inconveniencing their customers and their workers.

Dates for future strikes include:

– Saturday, 25th August 2018

– Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th September 2018

– Monday 1st, Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd October 2018

– Thursday 1st, Friday 2nd, Saturday 3rd and Monday 5th November 2018

Almost 40 stores will participate in strikes tomorrow (Saturday, 25th August), as workers continue their campaign against low pay and zero hour contracts.

The strike relates to a claim by Mandate Trade Union on behalf of its 270 members employed by LloydsPharmacy which includes:

  • A pay increase with adequate incremental pay scales (Lloyds workers’ pay scales start at €10ph);
  • A sufficient sick pay scheme;
  • Security of hours and the elimination of zero hour contracts; and
  • Improvements in annual leave entitlements and public holiday premiums.