The PSA, along with other unions, met with TAFE on 1 and 2 July to continue to negotiate the conditions contained in your next enterprise agreement. Your union had previously lobbied for TAFE to provide a guarantee that a 2.5% pay increase awarded to other workers in the government sector would be extended to TAFE staff retrospectively and back-dated to July 2015.
TAFE’s response this week was to inform us that the 2.5% would only be backdated if the unions agreed to TAFE’s proposals within 8-9 weeks, including a new classification system and a consolidation of employment conditions.
In order to finalise the new classification system, TAFE and the PSA would need to negotiate on the standards against which every TAFE employee’s job would be evaluated, the translation from the current system to the new system, the implementation processes and the flow on impacts this would have. All this and more is proposed by TAFE to be negotiated and voted on by 16 September. The PSA expects that in order for this to be done effectively and with proper consideration by our members, it would take 4-6 months to finalise.
The PSA strongly objected to the short timeframe and advocated for TAFE to take an alternative position to the NSW Government Wages Policy Task Force. The PSA asked for:
- A 2.5% pay rise for TAFE staff to be paid from 1 July, with the current agreement being extended by 6-12 months; OR
- A 2.5% pay rise from the next earliest pay date (likely to be 1 August 2015) with the current agreement being extended for 6 months.
Both of these proposals would allow the new classification system to be negotiated fairly.
This reasonable proposal was rejected by TAFE, as they refused to return to the NSW Wages Policy Task Force with an alternative request. By the end of the second day of negotiations, TAFE amended their refusal and indicated they might consider our request at the next meeting.
A new classification system, and the consolidation of a large, diverse range of related employment conditions, should not be rushed even for a small pay rise over a couple of months.
In addition to a rushed classification system in 8 weeks, TAFE is proposing the following consolidation of employment conditions:
- 80% of TAFE staff currently working 35 hours per week to work an extra 2 hours per week, for no extra pay
- Extend the span of hours for all staff to 6am to 9pm, 7 days a week
- Introduce broken shift work, which can be used for all staff (e.g. 2 hours on duty in the morning, 5 hours break, 3 hours on duty in the evening)
- Cut shift penalties, cut overtime rates, cut allowances, cut rostered days off
- Drastically restrict and limit access to flexible working arrangements – must get supervisor’s approval for all additional time worked, every single day
- Automatic loss of accrued hours, even if a supervisor refuses to give you time off for “operational requirements”.
There is a wide range of other proposals being made by TAFE, which drastically slash wages and conditions, and threaten all staff to be covered by this agreement. Over the next few weeks, the PSA will be going through all the details, and will let you know exactly how much of your working conditions are proposed to be slashed. We are concernced that TAFE’s proposal will drive wages, conditions and entitlements to below the minimum standard allowed under Fair Work Australia.
Under the current conditions being proposed by TAFE, the PSA expects that within 6-12 months, the majority of staff will:
- Potentially have their salaries slashed transitioning to a rushed and untested classification system
- Work longer hours, for less pay
- Have no ability to review or participate in how the new classification system works
- Be pressured into doing more and more “flexitime” with no extra pay, no time off, and accrued hours being lost forever.
The PSA is calling upon members to:
- Reject the initial insulting offer made by TAFE
- Reject slashed salaries
- Reject slashed conditions
Over the last 2 years TAFE have already embarked on restructure after restructure, cutting 1000s of jobs. They now want to step up the attack on the staff that remains.
The PSA will be arranging a number of member meetings in the coming weeks to update staff on these developments.
In order for your union to continue to strongly defend your conditions of employment, it is vital you encourage your colleagues who may not yet be a member of the PSA to join.
Not a member? Join the PSA today to fight for improvements instead of slashed wages and conditions at www.psa.asn.au.
Members should pass this message on to interested potential PSA members.
Your PSA(CPSU) Bargaining Representatives
Last week TAFE sent an update out to all staff regarding the classification consultation. The PSA (CPSU) needs to let you know that the classification is still under development and is yet to be agreed. The current enterprise agreement provides that the parties will make ‘best endeavours’ to complete ‘consultation’ on the development of a new classification structure.
The formal ‘consultation’ period is now over. However, the final draft classification is yet to be complete. The PSA (CPSU) will develop a scoping document with TAFE to have a third party finalise the details of the proposed classification. This then needs to be checked and measured against the work currently undertaken by PSA (CPSU) members to ensure that PSA (CPSU) members are better off in the coming years.
Any draft classification structure at this stage will be subject to negotiations in enterprise bargaining and subject to PSA (CPSU) members’ endorsement.
Your bargaining team met with TAFE last week for the first discussions for the next enterprise agreement. TAFE funded their (10) management representatives to all be at the table. However, they have so far refused to fund their staff bargaining representatives.
It is not acceptable to prevent your bargaining representatives attending the meetings in person. Negotiations are significantly more effective when both sides are sitting in the room together. The PSA (CPSU) has insisted that, in accordance with the enterprise agreement, TAFE must fund the bargaining representatives who are negotiating this on your behalf.
What is being offered?
- TAFE is proposing that negotiations are completed within 70 days, and a balloted, approved & signed agreement is completed within 90 days.
- TAFE is proposing that this agreement will have the (yet to be completed) classification descriptors.
- TAFE is proposing that the translation from the current classifications to the new classifications occurs through future restructures and new appointments. The details to be provided.
- TAFE is threatening to block up to 2.5% pay rise effective from 1 July 2015 if these objectives are not reached on time. This applies even if TAFE is the cause of the delays.
- TAFE wants to ‘standardise’ working conditions, such as hours of work, span of hours and other conditions.
What is next?
The PSA/CPSU is finalising the Log of Claims for key issues for this round. To ensure that any classification descriptors are equitable and appropriate, the union needs:
- the final version provided by the external company;
- time to research and evaluate the potential impact on the full range of PSA/CPSU members;
- provide comprehensive information to members so everyone understands the proposal and its potential impact; and
- negotiate a detailed translation process that protects members’ take home pay.
The union is not convinced that all of this can be achieved within the 70-90 day time limit being imposed by TAFE. To ensure that Union members are not disadvantaged, we are seeking a response from TAFE for a 12 month extension of the current agreement, with some minimal changes, and the 2.5% pay rise effective from 1 July 2015.
This would provide all sides with another 12 months to negotiate the next agreement, properly consider and review the (yet to be finalised) classification descriptors; the consolidation of various conditions; and ensure that all TAFE staff are aware and understand the details and potential impact of the proposed changes. This way, when staff vote on any proposed changes it will be a fully informed vote.
Your bargaining representatives
- TAFE support staff enterprise bargaining bulletin 2
- TAFE support staff enterprise bargaining bulletin
- TAFE NSW apologises to students for enrolment delays caused by new software – ABC News
- Newcastle Hamilton TAFE rally
- TAFE Bulletin re Defending Public Services Doorknocking Campaign – 12 February 2015
- Leon Parissi on TAFE Bulletin re Capability Framework – 6 February 2015
- S Admin on VOTE NO TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPPORT EMPLOYEES ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT
- tafe staff on TAFE VOTE NO PHOTOS
- Staff Union Member on TAFE VOTE NO PHOTOS
- MD Store on TAFE VOTE NO PHOTOS