Both my Colleague and I feel we were badly treated

I taught for 33 years, retired in 2007 and have been working as an LSA (Learning Support Assistant) since then. My story involves a young colleague who was working alongside me in a busy Learning Support department in a highly achieving Sixth Form College in Winchester which has just appointed two teaching colleagues as a job-share Head of Department – thus the senior management have come round to the idea since my colleague and I put it forward as a solution to our working situation.
In October, before her baby was a year old, she contacted college to return to work. Reasonably (given the cost of child care and our less than lucrative wages!) she did not want to return to a full time position. I am at the other end of my working days with responsibility for an ageing Mother of 98. We thought that offering to job-share one full time post would be an excellent solution for everyone, college, the department, our students and, of course us. This would have released the other full time position for another permanent member of staff.
I include verbatim the correspondence with my senior manager:
“Dear X,
As you know, I’m keenly interested in the jobsharer suggested by XX (my colleague) and the Unison Rep as I would like to be considered as XX’s jobsharer partner which seems like an ideal solution as we are both experienced members of staff …I understand that the onus is on us the employees to make a case for how this would enhance the quality and performance of our work. I feel that our two heads together on our students’ behalf would be beneficial to them and the workings of our department. We would be able to discuss issues and even cover for each other if for instance my mother needed a hospital appointment or XX’s baby was sick. It certainly makes good sense to me but I understand that such a proposition has to be carefully considered. …”
The letter continues referring to the college’s policy document on returning to work after maternity leave and my allusion to ACAS and how they recommend dealing with the situation ‘informally in the first instance’ which is what I was trying to do.
The reply from senior management colleague was this:
“As I am sure you understand I cannot discuss XX’s case with you especially as we do not yet know if it is concluded (how could it be concluded? No-one had involved me at any point!) Until it is, it is not appropriate to be discussing possible alternative working arrangements for anyone.”
I was totally flummoxed by this as I had not been referred to in any capacity.
I replied:
“I don’t understand! Sorry but I’m the colleague she suggested sharing with – this makes no sense to me. How can we deal with this in any informal way if we can’t discuss it?”
No more was said until I received the following: “Dear Anne, I am contacting you to let you know that XX has now resigned. Therefore, the job-share that you were wanting to explore is not an option.” case closed!
Obviously, my colleague and I had been discussing this throughout and she felt intimidated and bullied and, unlike me, didn’t have the ‘stomach for a fight!’
I replied to our senior manager thus:
“Dear X,
I have to say that the reason that XX felt she had no option other than to resign is at least partly that no-one seemed to take the job-share option seriously. Certainly no-one spoke to me as the probable partner in the job-share. I genuinely feel that an opportunity has been missed and that a committed, hard-working member of the department has felt obliged to resign and college is left with a long-standing member of the department feeling shoddily treated.”
The whole debacle came back to me the week before Easter when the Head of Department job-share was announced!
Not sure what the moral of this story is other than both my colleague and I feel that we (especially she, I’ve still got a job!) were badly treated.

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