Shopworkers’ union Usdaw is calling on Walgreens Boots Alliance to enter into talks after the company said it aimed to shed around 200 stores by 2021.
No specific branches have been confirmed for closure, but it is widely presumed the blow will fall heaviest on major cities where there are Boots pharmacies relatively close to one another.
Usdaw National Officer Daniel Adams said: “This is clearly very worrying news for the staff in all Boots stores particularly given the company’s earlier denials.
“Usdaw will be doing all it can to support members during this difficult time.
“We urge the company to engage with Usdaw as the trade union for Boots retail staff to ensure that all avenues to minimise job losses are explored during this critical time”.
He added: “This issue is not confined to Boots, our high streets are in crisis and we need the Government to adopt a clear and coherent strategy for retail to address the worries and concerns of shopworkers and our members.
“Usdaw has developed a retail strategy and we hope it will be a catalyst for a combined and concerted effort to tackle the growing retail crisis and save our shops.”
Usdaw wants to “change the economic framework on everything from car parking to rates, rents and reforming the tax system” to create a level playing field between online and “bricks and mortar” retailers.
It also wants to improve productivity by addressing low pay and insecure work, while giving staff a say in the future of the business they work for and on the introduction of new technology.