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Jun 24, 2015

TAFE support staff enterprise bargaining bulletin

TAFE support staff enterprise bargaining bulletin June 2015 (PDF version)


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.

Enterprise bargaining

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.

In solidarity
Your bargaining representatives

PSA delegates

Leon Parissi
Margaret Bamford
Christopher Hobbins
Glenda Pryor
Gary Hodgkinson
Andrew Ruddell
Brad Cowie
Brook Down

PSA staff

Phoebe Dangerfield
Blake Stephens

Mar 11, 2015
Amy Conley

TAFE NSW apologises to students for enrolment delays caused by new software – ABC News

Mar 11, 2015

TAFE NSW has apologised for the disruptions to enrolments due to the “Smart and Skilled” fee reforms.

Read the ABC News story HERE

Feb 17, 2015
Amy Conley

Newcastle Hamilton TAFE rally

PSA members rallied outside Hamilton TAFE campus on 17 February where Premier Baird was opening the new offices of the Newcastle Business Chamber.Hamilton TAFE rally 18 Feb 553px

Feb 12, 2015
Amy Conley

TAFE Bulletin re Defending Public Services Doorknocking Campaign – 12 February 2015

 TAFE Bulletin re doorknocking campaign update – 12 Feb 2015 (PDF version)

The PSA’s first doorknocking event took place last Saturday in the seat of Port Stephens.

The event brought PSA members from TAFE and ADHC together to spend a Saturday morning doorknocking the neighbourhoods of Raymond Terrace to raise awareness of the Baird Government’s aggressive privatisation agenda.

PSA members did not ask people to vote for one party over another, but rather that they “pledge” to consider the consequences of the privatisation of the Vocational Education and Training sector and the attacks on TAFE when they vote.

The day was a wonderful success with 167 members of the general public pledging to be mindful of the perils of privatisation when they vote on March 28.

To view photos please go to:

The PSA campaign in TAFE helped lead to our recent victory in the Fair Work Commission regarding the capability framework.

Click here for a bulletin on the issue.

We are now working to establish institute based campaign action groups to drive the campaign into your workplace and local communities.

To get involved email:

In the meantime, the PSA asks that you assist in our campaign by attending one of the PSA’s doorknocking events.

We have picked three seats based on where we feel engagement with the community will make a real difference in voters’ considerations on March 28.

Even if you do not live in these seats, you are urged to come along and join the events in these crucial areas.

TAFE PSA members will be doorknocking on the following dates:

Strathfield    – 14th February and 14th March
Kiama   – 21st February and 21st March
Port Stephens  – 14th March

For further details, and to sign up go to:

Alternatively, contact the following PSA staff for further details –

Strathfield – Dylan Smith (

Kiama – Tony Heathwood (

Port Stephens – Marg Fullick (

Feb 10, 2015
Amy Conley

TAFE Bulletin re Capability Framework – 6 February 2015

TAFE Bulletin re Capability Framework – 6 February 2015 (PDF version)

The PSA/CPSU has successfully reached agreement with TAFE NSW to finailse the dispute at the Fair Work Commission.

What was the dispute about?

The NSW Public Sector Capability Framework is a new way for public sector agencies to describe the knowledge, skills and activities that employees must demonstrate to perform their positions. It substantially changes the way position descriptions are drafted, how you apply for positions, and the recruitment process.

Under your Enterprise Agreement, TAFE NSW is required to consult with the PSA/CPSU before implementing the Capability Framework. However, many Institutes had already begun to use it, most notably in the context of restructures.

What was the result of the dispute?

TAFE NSW has agreed to a process of consultation about those policies and procedures that will change as a result of the implementation of the Capability Framework. It also agreed that the all recruitment and selection in TAFE will not use the Capability Framework until such time as consultation has concluded.

What now?

There are a number of restructures currently underway in TAFE. Although these processes will not use the Capability Framework, many of the redrafted Position Descriptions still contain a section that refers to it. If you have not been adequately consulted about this, or if you have suffered some detriment or disadvantage, it may be still possible to do something about this. This could include lodging a dispute with your Institute. You should let the PSA/CPSU know as soon as possible if this applies to you.

Please call the Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679 if you have any information or questions.

Feb 4, 2015
Amy Conley

TAFE Bulletin re Capability Framework – 4 February 2015

TAFE Bulletin re Capability Framework – 4 February 2015 (PDF version)

Yesterday at a meeting with Pam Christie, Managing Director of TAFE NSW, the PSA/CPSU obtained specific assurances that it would be consulted about all policies and practices that will change because of the implementation of the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework. This consultation is expected to occur over the next few months.

However, TAFE NSW refused to stop the various restructures currently underway that are using the capability framework for recruitment, selection and the drafting of position descriptions.

The PSA/CPSU opposes the use of the capability framework in any context at TAFE before consultation has concluded. Consultation is required under your enterprise agreement and involves an assessment of the potential impact on staff and identifies measures necessary to reduce any adverse effects. This process has yet to be undertaken by TAFE NSW and we cannot be satisfied that appropriate action has been taken to support staff.

We will return to the Fair Work Commission on Thursday, 5 February 2015, to seek commitments from TAFE about the restructures.

What can I do?

If your Institute is engaging in a restructure that uses the capability framework, or if you have any information about how the introduction of the Capability Framework is affecting you, please let the PSA/CPSU know by calling the Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679.

Dec 8, 2014

TAFE advertising blitz as election nears – The Sydney Morning Herald

Marketing TAFE’s high quality to prospective students will help bolster these public institutes against competition from the private training providers. But the message sits oddly beside the NSW government’s actions to dismantle the TAFE system.

Read the Herald article HERE.

Nov 25, 2014

The Greens Save TAFE campaign: Plan B promise for state election

The Greens Save TAFE campaign November 2014 (PDF version)

Saturday 22 November 2014

The Greens today announced their moves to limit the damage that the Smart and Skilled training market will do to TAFE.

The Greens first bill to stop Smart and Skilled and freeze the funding of private providers passed the Upper House but failed in the Lower House last week.

The Greens now accept that Smart and Skilled will be a reality for 2015 if the Baird government is re-elected but will be moving to stop it growing as it did in Victoria where TAFE has been residualised to just 27% of student enrolments.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye told the NSW Teachers Federation council meeting this morning that in the new parliament the Greens will move legislation to:

  • limit non-TAFE providers to just 20% of the public funding pie
  • stop any new training providers receiving public funding
  • prohibit for-profit corporations from receiving public funding.

The current round of Smart and Skilled contracts limits the number going to non-TAFE providers but this is the result of an administrative decision, which could be changed at any time.

There is a very real risk that NSW will head down the same disastrous path as Victoria, Queensland and South Australia where TAFE is becoming a minor player in an increasingly competitive vocational education and training market.

Media comments

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: “Education Minister Adrian Piccoli appears to have held back pressure from Treasury to decimate TAFE for the 2015 round of allocations of public funding.

“With the Smart and Skilled market going live early in the New Year, he was no doubt able to argue that the Baird-Grant government did not need a bad news story on the eve of an election.

“From 2016 onwards, without the pressure of an election, TAFE in NSW faces the same grim future that has seen the public provider in Victoria relegated to the margins.

“The Greens believe that only legislation that limits the spread of private providers and prohibits profits being made from public funding can secure a future for TAFE.

“Treasury sees TAFE as a sitting target and wants to wipe it out as their Victorian colleagues have done.

“TAFE hangs by a very thin thread. One administrative decision at the end of next year and the system could go into free fall.

“We will be campaigning throughout the 2015 election for legislated protection that saves TAFE from the designs that Treasury has for the future of training in NSW,” Dr Kaye said.

Oct 30, 2014

TAFE Cuts community forum on 28 October at Gymea Tradies

PSA Assistant General Secretary, Steve Turner was among the speakers.


Oct 2, 2014

TAFE Cuts – Community forum

The Shire Community Union Alliance is holding a TAFE Cuts forum on Tuesday 28 October at Gymea Tradies at 6pm for 6.30pm.

Guest speakers are:

  • Mark Lennon, Unions NSW Secretary
  • Steve Turner, PSA Assistant General Secretary
  • Maxine Sharkey, NSW Teachers Federation Assistant Secretary