TAFE Support Staff Enterprise Bargaining

TAFE Support Staff Enterprise Bargaining bulletin – December 2015 (PDF version)

The PSA (CPSU) met with the bargaining representatives for TAFE NSW and other unions on 27 November 2015. Your bargaining representatives discussed draft work level standards, part-year employment, allowances, dispute resolution and consultation.

Please note, there is still no offer by TAFE NSW to pay members the 2015 pay rise of 2.5 percent. This continues to be held to ransom by TAFE NSW while negotiations continue.

New classification system and work level standards

The PSA (CPSU) tabled a draft classification system based on the transfer of NSW public sector classifications into the federal system when the Colleges of Advanced Education were transferred across. TAFE and the unions are fine-tuning this for TAFE’s purposes during small group meetings in between bargaining meetings.

The next stage is for the parties to evaluate a range of positions and to review proposed changes from TAFE NSW. When the PSA (CPSU) arrives at a classification system, your bargaining, representatives can recommend, we will provide members with a detailed briefing on the proposed classification system and work level standards. Union members can then vote to approve or reject the proposal.

Part-year employment

This is a key claim from TAFE NSW, however, based on their current statistics. It only affects around 100-odd temporary workers out of the nearly 5000 employees. TAFE NSW has committed to reviewing the actual number of part-year temporary employees.

The PSA (CPSU) has concerns around the introduction of permanent part-year employment. Where this category of employment is allowed, there is a strong likelihood more and more employees will be moved onto part-year employment and have their annual income reduced. Through improved job design, the new classification system – if members agree – and the move to have teaching occurring across 48 weeks of the year, the actual need for part-year employment should be decreasing.

There are a number of PSA (CPSU) members who work part-year, and would like to continue to work part-year with more secure employment. The union is considering what options there are to improve job security for members in these circumstances. Any changes need to be carefully developed to ensure that there are no widespread disadvantages into the future. The union will want to get feedback from those members who are working part-year, especially those on temporary contracts, around any proposal. Please keep an eye out for further notices.

Consolidation of allowances

TAFE NSW and the unions started a review of the allowances in preparation for an amalgamation under a central classification system – assuming one is agreed. A range of unused allowances relating to work that no longer exists in TAFE NSW has been agreed to be removed. Other allowances will be subject to further negotiations with a view to bring common allowances together. These allowances will apply to any employee who performs those related duties.

Dispute resolution

The PSA (CPSU) tabled a draft grievance-and-dispute resolution clause for discussion. This proposed that workplace issues unable to be resolved locally may be taken to either the Fair Work Commission or the NSW IRC.

The option of going to the NSW IRC provides access to a broader range of commissioners who may be able to assist in resolving issues. The NSW IRC is also looking at expanding their support on alternative dispute resolution for to dealing with workplace issues. Access to the NSW IRC can provide assistance from an additional number of commissioners, especially where the FWC has a backlog. These commissions also have experience in and understand the NSW government sector and can bring an alternative approach to resolving workplace issues.

The PSA (CPSU) will consider the response from TAFE NSW at the next bargaining meeting.

Consultation procedures

The union discussed how consultation for workplace change is occurring, and what we see are the issues that need to be clarified. Each Institute undertakes workplace change differently and the PSA (CPSU) has had increased numbers of complaints on this issue.

The discussions were useful and the PSA (CPSU) in response will propose some minor changes to the current consultation clause for workplace change. The PSA (CPSU) will also discuss the issue when the unions meet with the managing director to discuss state-wide issues to see if workplace change processes can become more standardised and easier for members to participate in.

Next meeting

Is scheduled for 10 December 2015 and will be the last EB meeting of the year. Work regarding the new classification system and work level standards is continuing between meetings.


The PSA (CPSU) always bargains as directed by our members, which is why being a member of your union is the only way to have a real voice in the negotiation of your working conditions. As such, the PSA (CPSU) has developed this short survey to gauge whether members support taking protected industrial action in response to TAFE’s continued attack on your working conditions.

Please take five minutes to complete this survey HERE.

Your bargaining representatives

PSA (CPSU) delegates

Leon Parissi         Christopher Hobbins

Glenda Pryor       Brad Cowie

Brook Down        Gary Hodgkinson

PSA (CPSU) staff

Phoebe Dangerfield     Blake Stephens