Laid off Sainsbury's pharmacists seek legal case against LloydsPharmacy over redundancy pay

Former pharmacists at Sainsbury’s are launching a claim against LloydsPharmacy after 237 branches inside of supermarkets were shuttered earlier this year.

The action was announced by the Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA), a not-for-profit organisation which supports the needs of individual employed and locum pharmacists and pharmacy students.

The PDA said that former pharmacists employed by the supermarket have asked the organisation to support them in bringing a claim against LloydsPharmacy after they were made redundant with only basic statutory minimum compensation.

The aggrieved former employees were transferred from Sainsbury’s to LloydsPharmacy in 20216, and believe they are entitled to an enhanced redundancy payment which formed part of their original terms and conditions at Sainsbury’s.

The PDA specifically cited the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) regulations which is designed to prevent contractual benefits from being removed by a new employer. The organisation claims that LloydsPharmacy told staff that Sainsbury’s enhanced redundancy benefits had been removed and no longer applied when they were informed of the risk of redundancy.

This change, the PDA said, “can be tens of thousands of pounds”.

Commenting on the action, PDA Union general secretary, Mark Pitt said: “Senior leaders in the company were given opportunities to correct this situation, firstly at a collective grievance hearing and subsequently at an appeal. However, the rejection of the grievance has left employees with no other internal options to resolve their complaints.

Union lawyers working alongside a specialist barrister in this complex area of law have now lodged multiple claims in the Employment Tribunal system on behalf of PDA members. Tribunal claims related to TUPE are complex and case law is continuously evolving so we will be monitoring developments as the evidence unfolds.”

In a statement to Retail Systems, a spokesperson for LloydsPharmacy said: "In January 2023 LloydsPharmacy announced the withdrawal of pharmacy services from all Sainsbury’s stores, to take place throughout 2023. Since then LloydsPharmacy has been working hard to support all colleagues affected by the process. In doing so, LloydsPharmacy has ensured that it is acting responsibly and equitably towards all colleagues impacted by the change, including paying statutory redundancy pay in line with our policies.”

Sainsbury’s declined to comment on the story when approached by Retain Systems.

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