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PDA Workplace Reps

Find out how you can become a PDA Workplace Rep today!

What is the role of a workplace representative?

The most important job of a PDA Workplace Rep is to make members and potential members aware that the PDA Union is independent from the employer, giving a strong collective voice for all pharmacists. Strong union groups experience fewer workplace issues, receive better pay and have improved terms and conditions of employment. This voluntary role is vital to the work of the PDA and will help to ensure that more pharmacists are aware of who the PDA is, what it does, what support and advice is available, and how members can get involved.

Together we can:

The workplace rep role includes:

  • Being an ambassador for the PDA and its work on behalf of pharmacists
  • Communicating with your colleagues at work and feeding back to the PDA and your Regional Committee about any issues and concerns
  • Recruiting friends, colleagues, and other pharmacists to join the PDA
  • Promoting the PDA and its networks on social media
  • Raising awareness of the PDA’s current campaigns such as Violence in Pharmacy, Safer pharmacies and Wider than Medicines
  • Getting involved in PDA events, the National Conference, and other supportive PDA programmes.

What are the rights of a workplace representative?

As a PDA Workplace Rep, you have certain rights under employment law. If the PDA is recognised by your employer, you have more rights than if the PDA is not recognised. Trade union recognition is a formal agreement with an employer for a particular union to undertake collective bargaining on behalf of that employer’s staff. Collective bargaining typically covers terms and conditions of employment (pay, hours, and holidays), discipline and grievance matters, health and safety, allocation of work, and redundancy. It often extends to cover professional development and change management.

The PDA has recognition agreements with a variety of employers, with Boots being the largest multiple in community pharmacy. The PDA also has recognition in other pharmacy sectors, including in some hospitals. If the PDA is recognised by your employer, you are entitled to:

  • Statutory paid time off for union duties and training
  • Approach non-members about joining
  • Somewhere to display PDA materials
  • Reasonable use of facilities, such as email, telephone and a photocopier
  • Use of a room for meetings.

You have the right to access documentation that affects members including job descriptions, staffing structures, pay and conditions of service documents, and local employment policies. Further details about the rights for workplace reps in recognised workplaces can be found in the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) code of practice on time off for trade union duties and activities (learn more).

In non-recognised workplaces, the rep does not have the right to collective bargaining; however, members are still able to access individual assistance from the PDA. In particular, all workers have the right to be accompanied in a formal grievance or disciplinary hearing, and so maybe accompanied by the PDA Workplace Rep if they have received appropriate training. Strictly speaking, this is not a right to ’representation’; however, as a companion, you can attend a hearing and confer with your member but cannot answer for them. If you are not available to act as a companion on the date of the hearing, the member involved can suggest another date within five working days and the employer has to postpone the original hearing. Also, you have a right not to be victimised for acting as a companion for a colleague.

Training support and networking

As a workplace rep, we want you to feel confident and supported in your new PDA role.

We hope to provide opportunities for all our reps to develop skills and knowledge and to gain personal satisfaction through helping and supporting others and sharing with the profession for the future.

The PDA provides many opportunities for our reps to develop their knowledge and skills:

  1. Induction activities
  2. Training opportunities through the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) in Britain or Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) in Northern Ireland
  3. Training and events for Reps with the PDA and external stakeholders (face-to-face and online)
  4. Linked with a PDA Regional Official in your region for support
  5. 1-2-1 mentoring support for your rep role with a member of the PDA Organising & Engagement Team
  6. Space for you to network, share and support each other
  7. Opportunities to join other PDA networks 
  8. Places for reps at the PDA National Conference

If you would like to become a PDA Rep or for more information, please complete the below form.


Register your interest

Please complete the following form to get in touch with us

Join the PDA today!

If you or any of your colleagues are not yet members of the PDA, you can join the PDA today.

Join the PDA today

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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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