GMB Union brings tribunal claim against Camden Council
School premises manager dismissed on grounds of redundancy after 30 years of service after refusing to accept the same job with lesser terms and conditions
GMB, the union for council workers, is today bringing a claim against Camden Council for the unfair dismissal of one of its trade union officials. Dennis McNulty, former Camden union convener and senior official, was dismissed in July 2019 following an organisational change process.
Mr McNulty was a school premises manager and had lived in a property linked to New End School for over 30 years. The headteacher insisted that the governing body wanted to take the property back to use it as additional space for the school, but the property was tied accommodation and a contractual term of Mr McNulty’s contract. Despite these facts, the school and the local authority contrived an organisational change process proposing that Mr McNulty’s job as a resident premises manager was no longer required and that he could continue to do the job on a non-residential basis.
Mr McNulty said:
“This whole exercise was a sham and designed to get me out of the house and evict me and my children. They had the cheek to offer me my own job as alternative employment if I agreed to move out of the property. That property is my home; somewhere I’ve lived for over half of my life, somewhere I’ve brought up my children. I wasn’t going to accept a forced eviction and a job on less favourable terms.”
At the time, Mr McNulty’s representative, Helen Purcell, challenged the redundancy consultation exercise, asserting that the proposal was not a true redundancy as there had been no diminishment or cessation of the work. She advised the school’s headteacher that the house was a contractual term and therefore a variation to the terms of the contract would be required.
Helen Purcell, GMB London Region Organiser said:
“Neither Camden HR or the school were willing to listen. It was apparent to me that they were attempting to vary the contract and I advised Dennis that whilst an employer could propose a variation, agreement would need to be reached. I think it’s extremely regrettable that Camden continued with the process rather than engage in a proper discussion. This whole debacle was completely avoidable and will result in expenditure from the public purse at a time when all local authorities need to be making savings.”
The case will be heard at the London Central tribunal on 16 and 17 September. Mr McNulty is by represented by Pattinson and Brewer.
Helen Purcell, GMB London Region Organiser 078 1354 2046
GMB London Region Press Office 079 7001 9643