TAFE PSA members to consider protected industrial action

PSA TAFE members to consider protected industrial action (PDF version)

The PSA has received enquiries from members and delegates about what action they can take in response to TAFE’s attacks on working conditions; attacks 81 percent of staff voted to reject in September.

In order for members to take protected action, the PSA must apply to the Fair Work Commission for a Protected Action Ballot Order (PABO).

What is a PABO?

Protected action ballots are secret ballots giving PSA members a chance to vote on whether they want to initiate protected industrial action. Non-members do not get a vote.

For a protected action ballot to authorise industrial action:

  • at least 50 percent of members MUST vote
  • More than 50 percent of those who voted MUST approve the industrial action.

What is protected industrial action?

Protected industrial action can take many forms including, but not limited to:

  • work bans – bans on specific tasks such as not answering phone calls or replying to all emails with a common message explaining why you are taking industrial action
  • wearing protest clothing/badges
  • work stoppages – such as a 15-minute, one-hour, half-day or full-day strike
  • any other action members approve of in the ballot.

Can TAFE discipline me for taking part in protected industrial action?

TAFE is prohibited from taking adverse action against you for taking part in an industrial activity. An industrial activity includes:

  • being a member of a union
  • organising lawful activity on behalf of a union
  • representing, or seeking to be represented, by a union
  • exercising a workplace right, such as participating in protected industrial action.

If TAFE contravenes these protections, it can be liable for penalties of up to $54,000. Additionally, any individual manager found to take adverse action against a worker can be liable for a penalty of up to $10,800. The PSA will strongly defend our members from any adverse action.

Can any employee engage in protected industrial action?

No. Only an employee who is a PSA member and who is covered by the current TAFE Commission of NSW Administrative, Support and Related Employees Enterprise Agreement 2013 (the Agreement) can take the action listed in any notice from the PSA.

If a non-member takes industrial action, they are “unprotected”, which can result in penalties. If you are not a member, join today and join the fight.

Is the PSA going to apply for a PABO?

The PSA always bargains as directed by our members, which is why being a member of the PSA is the only way to have a real voice in the negotiation of your working conditions. As such, the PSA has developed this short survey to gauge whether members support taking action, before any application to the Fair Work Commission for a PABO.

Please take five minutes to complete this survey here.

What can I do?

The most important thing you can do right now is respond to the above survey.

If you are not a member, the only way to have your say on, and take part in, any action is to become a member of the PSA.