The Pharmacists' Defence Association Union (PDAU) applied to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) seeking statutory recognition in respect of a group of pharmacists. Boots argued that the CAC should not accept the application as Boots already had an established relationship with a listed trade union, the Boots Pharmacists Association (BPA), in respect of members of the proposed bargaining unit. The CAC recognised that, while there was a collective agreement in force with the BPA, it only extended to consultation machinery and not to collective bargaining in relation to terms and conditions of employment, pay, working hours or holidays. It decided that to allow such an agreement to block the PDAU’s application was contrary to Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights and allowed the application to proceed. In so doing, the CAC added (for the purposes of this case) some additional words into the legislation to enable this to happen. The outcome of this case suggests that seeking to block an application for statutory recognition by entering into a “sweetheart” deal with another trade union or staff association on limited, peripheral matters (outside bargaining on pay, hours and holidays) will not succeed.