On 1 October 2015, the General Secretary, Kate Fallon, wrote to Calderdale Council declaring that the AEP was in dispute with it because of its poor industrial relations practices.
The principal issue concerns the treatment of our elected LA Representative when he raised the issue of Calderdale’s failure to recruit to the vacant Principal Educational Psychologists position following the retirement of the previous incumbent at the end of March 2015.
In his capacity as a trade union representative, he attended an Employee Relations Forum meeting (this is a routine consultative meeting between union members and elected Councillors) on 14 July 2015 and he argued for the need to recruit a replacement and he set out the dangers of not doing so. He also argued that the dwindling numbers of educational psychologists in Calderdale put at risk the Council’s ability to meet its statutory obligations in relation to EHCPs.
He was asked to put his verbal submission in writing which he duly did on 17 July 2015. He has since been subjected to a disciplinary investigation specifically in relation to his submissions.
In both his verbal and written submissions our LA representative made clear reference to the AEP’s policy, ‘The Management of Educational Psychology Services and the Role of Principal Educational Psychologists 2008’.
At its meeting on 26 September 2015, the National Executive Committee voted unanimously to enter into dispute with the Council.
In her letter Kate Fallon, General Secretary summarised the AEP’s concern as follows:
“ … the AEP simply cannot tolerate a position where one of its elected representatives is subjected to disciplinary action, which threatens to end with the termination of his employment, for articulating and promoting a long established policy position of the AEP, which is set out in the document he openly referred to.
This same policy position is articulated and advocated by our LA representatives up and down the country on a regular basis: they are not subjected to blatant detriment for doing so.
We take the view that Calderdale has crossed a ‘red line’.”
There is a meeting, brokered by ACAS, with officers from Calderdale Council on 21 October 2015 at which the dispute and the reasons for it will be discussed, to see if a resolution is possible. Any resolution would have to include an absolute revocation of the current disciplinary process against our LA representative.
For the time being though the AEP does not believe that Calderdale Council is a safe place for our members to work and that includes members who are not employed in Calderdale but who might be encouraged or asked to work there. We shall not be taking any adverts for posts in Calderdale for the duration of the dispute
If you want to know more about the dispute or you have seen an advert for a position there and are contemplating applying then please do contact the AEP office for more information.