Lloyds Pharmacy workers vote to temporarily suspend industrial action

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Union condemns reckless and irresponsible behaviour of management

50% of Lloyds Pharmacy workers (more than 400 staff) apply for voluntary severance package

Mandate Trade Union members employed by Lloyds Pharmacy have today (Tuesday, 25th September) voted by 75 percent in favour of temporarily suspending industrial action.

The decision was taken at a mass meeting of members which took place in Citywest Hotel today.

The workers said the reckless and disgraceful behaviour of their employer, who who has refused to engage with their workers’ union, has inconvenienced the public and damaged the business.

“We care about our customers. We hate seeing them inconvenienced. We only wish that management felt the same,” said one Lloyds worker who wished to remain anonymous.

“It seems the company would rather close shops, inconvenience the public and damage the business rather than allow us our right to representation,” she continued.

Mandate said the company had “targeted” a number of trade union activists in order to create a chill effect.

Another Lloyds worker, speaking at the meeting said:

“There has been intimidation on a grand scale since we began our campaign. Pharmacists have been constantly pressurised. It’s no wonder half the workforce wants to leave.”

She continued, “Yet the company is attempting to claim the high moral ground by pretending they care about their workers and patients? If they did care, like we do, they could prevent all strikes by simply agreeing to a meeting with our trade union.”

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary:

“Since we began our campaign 18 months ago, our members have won the abolition of the minimum wage in the business; significant pay increases of up to 24 percent; the introduction of pay scales; the re-introduction of a sick pay scheme; the payment of pharmacist professional fees; and the promise of secure hour contracts being implemented.”

He added, “We don’t believe these concessions are sufficient, so we will now be taking a case to the Labour Court seeking to improve on these achievements.”

The Labour Court has already issued a recommendation instructing Lloyds Pharmacy to allow their workers the right to be represented, however, the company has refused to engage. Now Mandate will seek a recommendation on the substantive issues in dispute.

Mr Light said, “Make no mistake, this dispute is continuing. Our members are reserving their right to participate in further industrial action in the future should the company continue its non-engagement.”

The dispute between Mandate and Lloyds Pharmacy is in relation to a claim for:

  • 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.


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).

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.