Limerick pharmacy chain workers may take strike action in bid for union recognition

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts


Limerick pharmacy chain workers may take strike action in bid for union recognition

Lloyds Pharmacy in William Street, one of a number of stores where strike action could take place next Thursday PICTURE: MICHAEL COWHEY

PHARMACY staff across Limerick may go on strike next Thursday in protest at their company’s alleged failure to engage with Mandate trade union.

Lloyds Pharmacy staff represented by Mandate have voted by a majority of 92% in favour of industrial action on a turnout of 75%.

It comes after a Labour Court recommendation to request the firm deal with the union.

Approximately 60 staff work for Lloyds across seven stores in Limerick, with 800 workers nationwide.

It’s estimated of these 200 will go to the gate next Thursday, with Mandate bosses expected to release the details of those stores closer to the time.

Gerry Light, Mandate’s assistant general secretary said the dispute may escalate to include more stores thereafter.

“Our members don’t want to go on strike, but we’ve been left with no other option. LloydsPharmacy workers have repeatedly requested that their employer negotiate with their representatives, Mandate trade union. The Labour Court backed the workers’ claim for trade union representation, but the company has defied both the Court and their workers’ wishes,” he said.

Limerick Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan pledged the full support of his party, should local workers strike.

He said: “These workers have been intending to organise for a couple of years now. They have been blocked at every stage by management. It’s totally unacceptable for a modern company in the 21st century to refuse to deal with trade unions. And that’s what’s at the heart of the issue.”

Lloyds Pharmacy has stores in Castletroy, William Street, Grove Island, the Jetland Shopping Centre, the Parkway Shopping Centre, the Roxboro Shopping Centre and at Rice’s Corner in Thomondgate.

Mr Light explained, “The one thing that was repeatedly raised by our members during the balloting process is that they do not wish to inconvenience the public who need their services, but that they cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the company’s treatment of them.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Lloyds Pharmacy said the firm engages instead with an accepted employee representative committee on all colleague terms and conditions.

“Last month, our employee representative committee successfully negotiated and balloted on a comprehensive framework agreement, with a majority of our colleagues voting in favour of it,” they said, “This agreement will provide enhanced terms and conditions for all our colleagues.  It includes both pay increases and the reintroduction of a sick pay scheme.  We are pleased to confirm that the terms of this agreement will take effect from this month, with these terms currently being implemented.”