Occasionally, the AEP enters a dispute with an employer. There are various reasons why this happens, but it is always a last resort, and only happens when the National Executive Committee believes that entering the dispute will, ultimately, be in members' best interests in the longer term.
When the AEP is in dispute with an employer, it will not carry its adverts on its website as a signal that we do not consider it to be an appropriate place for EPs to work. Ultimately, this is likely to put pressure on a service who want to recruit EPs to seek to negotiate with the AEP to resolve the dispute.
The facts of the dispute are publicised on the AEP website, and when disputes are settled, we also publicise that information. The AEP policy regarding disputes can be found here
Currently, the AEP is in dispute with the following employers:
Following a decision by Walsall in 2017 to reduce salaries by 1%, the AEP entered into dispute. There were several meetings between the AEP and senior management, in which we secured a temporary ‘market supplement’ as the employer refused to permanently restore EP salaries to the nationally agreed Soulbury pay scales. We have been advised by members in Walsall that the employer has agreed a pay increase to all employees, however, as yet, we have not confirmation that they will return to the nationally agreed increases for future years. The AEP is seeking such confirmation so that we can discuss lifting the dispute.
North Northamptonshire & West Northamptonshire
The AEP registered a dispute with Northamptonshire in 2013 following changes to their terms and conditions to employees. The employer forced changes to sick pay provisions, and a reduction in salaries. Over the years, we have worked hard to persuade Northamptonshire that the salaries and other conditions are unhelpful for Educational Psychologists, to no avail.
Following the disaggregation of Northamptonshire into unitary authorities, the AEP has written to the two new authorities of North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire advising them of the AEP view of the situation, offering urgent discussions.
During the consultation phase of disaggregation, it was agreed that new employees, and those who changed posts would be employed on nationally agreed pay and conditions in North Northamptonshire. Over the coming months, there would be service reviews which would look at how harmonisation could take place in various service areas. All North Northamptonshire employees will immediately benefit from a return to nationally agreed sick pay schemes. The AEP will press for all Soulbury Officers to be assimilated to the nationally agreed pay scales as soon as possible.
The situation is slightly different in West Northamptonshire. New employees will be placed on scales which reflect national agreements, and will benefit from nationally agreed sick pay schemes, but the employer will retain local pay negotiations. The AEP has expressed its concern and will continue to press for a return to national pay bargaining, as well as a service review where the aim will be to seek a return to pay which, as a minimum, reflects the national position.
The AEP will remain in dispute with the Authorities until the situation is resolved, and all EPs are paid on appropriate pay scales
In 2014, Cambridgeshire County Council proposed a wholesale review of the conditions of employment for all its employees. Crucially, it failed to consult in a meaningful way with unions who represented Soulbury Officers. As a consequence, EPs were in a position that meant their annual appraisal was the driving factor in whether they would receive an incremental pay rise. We know that many local authority employers will allow incremental advancement for those who perform ‘satisfactorily’ in their role. However the difference in Cambridgeshire was that all employees had to be either ‘highly effective’ or ‘exceptional’. ‘Doing your job well’ was seen as not sufficient to be awarded the automatic increment. Shortly after this change was imposed, a restructuring within the Council meant that the judgment as to which rating EPs would be awarded in their appraisal would be made by a manager who did not have a background in Educational Psychology. The NEC felt that this would not serve members well and registered a dispute. At this time, we continue to seek meetings with appropriate managers to discuss what can be done to ensure that EPs are able to receive the increments as set out in the Soulbury Agreement.
The AEP remains committed to work with employers to ensure that the pay and conditions for our members is appropriate and in line with national agreements. Any updates to the disputes will be published to all members.