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PDA BAME Network Newsletter – October 2023

Welcome to the PDA BAME Network Newsletter. In the issue read about the recent Black History Month online event and PDA Organising and Engagement Assistant's experience of joining the trade union movement. Also read about the Assistant Director for Education at the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Oshor Williams's experience which highlights why we must be actively anti-racist.

Fri 27th October 2023 The PDA

In this issue:

  • Pharmacist racially harassed by pharmacy team members
  • Raising a generation of BAME trade union leaders 
  • The PDA BAME Network celebrates diversity, equality, and Black female leaders
  • Not being racist is not enough, we must be anti-racist
  • Designing and deploying an upward career trajectory
  • Get involved
  • In case you missed it

Pharmacist racially harassed by pharmacy team members

Read the judgement of a case, supported by ourselves, where the treatment of a pharmacist by a pharmacy technician, a pharmacy advisor, and the store manager was significantly influenced by (and therefore related to) the pharmacist’s race:Following a 5-day hearing earlier this year, an Employment Tribunal has upheld 7 allegations of harassment related to race occurring during a shift on 18 July 2020 in a claim issued against Boots and one of its pharmacy technicians.

The pharmacist was represented throughout the internal grievance processes and at the Employment Tribunal hearing by ourselves. In a detailed written judgment, the pharmacy team members and company managers were heavily criticised by the Tribunal, who found the pharmacy technician and a pharmacy advisor working with the pharmacist during the shift had undermined the pharmacist in his professional role as the Responsible Pharmacist (RP) and insulted him.




Raising a generation of BAME trade union leaders

By PDA Organising and Engagement Assistant, Manuella Asso
Five years ago, I joined the trade union movement migrating to different roles such as Personal Assistant, Union Secretary, and currently PDA Organising and Engagement Assistant. I am currently undertaking the Trade Union Apprenticeship programme. Having not come from a union background, I felt like I was thrust into a new world that I barely knew existed until 5 years ago.
At some trade union events, I was introduced to new terminology such as ‘comrade’ or ‘brotherhood’ that I had never heard before in a work setting.

However, despite the move to more inclusive language, at many events I still did not feel like I belonged because very few people looked like me. This is when I realised that the trade union movement needs to be even more diverse and create a more inclusive membership by building equality structures. These structures must allow for BAME members to feel they belong, they are represented at all levels including leadership positions, and must provide opportunities for growth and actively fight against racism and discrimination. The PDA is doing this with our PDA BAME Network, which I am proud to support.

All union leaders must create space for inclusion by proactively identifying future BAME leaders, removing the barriers that hinder them from becoming more active and developing and mentoring them to become leaders and role models for the next generation of workers. This activity builds solidarity amongst us and will strengthen trade unions and enhance their legitimacy for all workers.


The PDA BAME Network celebrates diversity, equality, and Black female leaders

The PDA BAME Committee recently hosted a remarkable event as part of Black History Month. This hour-long virtual gathering, hosted by Sima Hassan, President of the BAME Network covered an array of important topics.Sima opened the event by emphasising the importance of creating a safe space for sharing views and opinions. It was also an opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of black women in society. Sima particularly highlighted the difference made by her black female colleagues both in community pharmacy and academia.

Sima discussed how the PDA continually supports diversity and equality through legal representation and securing substantial compensation for members who experienced racism at work, further emphasizing the organisation’s dedication to these values.

Not being racist is not enough, we must be anti-racist

 By Assistant Director for Education at the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Oshor Williams. The PFA is the trade union for professional footballers in the UK and a fellow affiliate alongside the PDA in the GFTU.

I remember meeting Tommy Sword for the first time in the stadium players’ lounge after a match in the late 1970s. We had a drink and a chat, and he told me he was heading back to Newcastle for the weekend. When I told him I was also going back to Teesside he offered to drop me off on his way home.

I didn’t have a car back then but Tommy had a shiny orange Cortina Mark 3 with a black vinyl roof, which may not sound much nowadays, but back then it was a pretty impressive ride, particularly when compared to a four-hour bus trip back to Stockton.

So, I picked up an overnight bag from my digs and we headed out of town. Just as we pulled up at traffic lights a group of lads approached shouting aggressively and glaring menacingly. When they reached us one of them stopped and made a loud racist remark.

In a flash, Tommy kicked open his door, leaped from the car, and marched up to the gang targeting the perpetrator directly. He grabbed his lapels and angrily invited him to repeat what he’d just said. Confronted by an enraged 6’ 2” Geordie roofer turned footballer both the abuser and his cronies quickly became sober and apologising profusely.



Designing and deploying an upward career trajectory

By Pharmacy Integration Clinical Lead at Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Integrated Care System, Tunde Kikiowo

Designing a career that leads you to the peak of your professional practice requires some amazingly simple but important qualities in an individual. Every career has a destination, so I would advise starting with the focus on where the journey ends right from the start despite the problems and challenges in the journey.

Next, be aware of opportunities around you, and do not be afraid to go for them. In the process of going for opportunities help those you meet on the way, be a helpful person because these people may be your sponsors when you are not there to speak for yourself.

Try your best to be known as the person that gets the job done. Do not be known as the person in the team who always complains and sees the negative in situations. When decisions are made to promote, no one wants to work with or for a complainer or a pessimist.

Be humble but be wise, build your emotional intelligence, seek to understand how people think, and know how to showcase the value you bring to the organisation. This is because you must know how to negotiate so you can get what you deserve, a skill too many pharmacists lack.

Finally, increase your value, seek successful mentors, study hard, acquire new skills, volunteer for worthy causes, and do not be afraid to leave an organisation if you must.

Get involved

  • Follow the PDA BAME Network on social media using #PDAbame
  • For more information about the PDA BAME Network, click here.
  • If you would like to get involved with the network and its activities, email

In case you missed it


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