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Jul 3, 2015

TAFE support staff enterprise bargaining bulletin 2

TAFE support staff enterprise bargaining bulletin no 2 July 2015 (PDF version)

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

Members should pass this message on to interested potential PSA members.

Your PSA(CPSU) Bargaining Representatives

PSA Delegates

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

PSA Staff

Phoebe Dangerfield
Blake Stephens

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 6, 2015
Amy Conley

TAFE Bulletin re Defending Public Services Doorknocking Campaign – 6 February 2015

TAFE Bulletin re Defending Public Services Doorknocking Campaign – 6 February 2015 (PDF version)

The NSW Government has conducted a relentless campaign of attacking public sector workers, privatising assets and cutting the services that are relied upon by millions of people across the state.

This agenda has been felt acutely in TAFE where the misleadingly named “Smart and Skilled” policy has already led to 800 jobs being cut from TAFE Institutes along with a reduction in learning and student support resources.

Between now and the state election on 28 March, PSA members will be joining forces with other public sector workers in NSW to explain to the community the exact impact the Government’s policies have had on their job and the services they provide.

As a TAFE worker you have an important story to tell to voters throughout NSW.

We know from the situation in Victoria that the creation of a competitive vocational training “market” saw a flood of low standard courses and the decimation of regional TAFE Institutes.

The next step in the campaign to Save our TAFE is to explain to voters what is at risk if we continue down this path in NSW.

The PSA is targeting three crucial areas – Port Stephens, Kiama and Strathfield.

TAFE PSA members will be doorknocking on the following dates:

  • Port Stephens – 7th February and 14th March
  • Strathfield – 14th February and 14th March
  • Kiama – 21st February and 21st March

Members will be meeting at 9:30 with an early afternoon finish expected (lunch included).

PSA members will be leading doorknocking days in crucial seats across the state right up until the election. For a full schedule please visit

For any questions, or if you are interested in being involved, please contact the following PSA staff:

Strathfield –    Dylan Smith (

Kiama –    Tony Heathwood (

Port Stephens –    Marg Fullick (

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.

Feb 3, 2015
Amy Conley

NSW Government accused of hypocrisy over TAFE promise – The Sydney Morning Herald

The NSW Government’s $86 million Reskilling NSW vocational training plan follows cuts of $800 million to TAFE.

Read The Sydney Morning Herald story HERE

Jan 30, 2015
Amy Conley

TAFE Bulletin re Capability Framework – 30 January 2015

TAFE Bulletin re Capability Framework – 30 January 2015 (PDF version)

Yesterday, the PSA/CPSU was successful in forcing TAFE NSW to consult about the implementation of the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework.

The PSA/CPSU was compelled to apply to the Fair Work Commission last week after TAFE NSW refused to comply with your enterprise agreement and meet with us again about our dispute.

At the Fair Work Commission, TAFE NSW agreed to provide further information about the implementation of the Capability Framework, and in particular the impact it will have on staff and measures taken to reduce any adverse effects. TAFE NSW also agreed to meet with the PSA/CPSU next week for further discussions and to suspend all action that uses the Capability Framework while consultation continues.

What can I do?

TAFE NSW informed us that it has advised all Institutes to suspend all processes that use the Capability Framework. If your Institute is still progressing any action contrary to the advice (such as a restructure that uses Position Descriptions with 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.