TAFE Enterprise bargaining update

TAFE enterprise bargaining update – May 2016 (PDF version)

TAFE members walk out

A big thank you to all members who walked off the job on Thursday 28 April.

The Protected Industrial Action gained extensive media coverage right across the state, strengthening the fight to protect your working conditions. In addition, the media coverage allowed TAFE staff to highlight to the public how badly the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled reforms affect the entire community.
Here are links to some of the media articles:

The Newcastle Herald

The Illawarra Mercury

The Northern Daily Leader

For many members, this was the first time they have taken strike action. While the decision to participate in industrial action is never an easy one, the fact that hundreds of members across the state chose to take this drastic action to protect their conditions shows the membership’s resolve to fight TAFENSW’s slashed working conditions.

As PSA (CPSU) members took Protected Industrial Action within the required 30 days of our successful Protected Action Ballot, the option to take further industrial action is still available to members. The PSA (CPSU) will keep an eye on the separate Teacher’s enterprise agreement. The Teachers Federation is currently advising their members to vote No to their unfair agreement.

A big thanks in particular to our members from regional areas who sent in pictures of their strike action and those who posted on social media. You can view images of the strike HERE. While you are there, be sure to like the OurTafe page to stay in touch with the campaign.

Where to now?

Following the strike action on Thursday, your PSA (CPSU) Bargaining Team met with TAFE NSW on Friday 29 April 2016 to progress the negotiations for your enterprise agreement.

As a result of the Protected Industrial Action, there were a number of developments which the PSA (CPSU) feel benefit our members, however, the work is not yet complete.

TAFE and the unions have been working cooperatively to develop a new classification structure. This work commenced in 2014 and on Friday we reviewed the work completed in the previous weeks and believe we are now close to agreement on a new classification structure for administrative and support staff that both meets the needs of TAFE NSW while supporting a fair transition into the structure. The parties are continuing to refine and check the details.

The structure would form the core of a new agreement. There remain a number of outstanding conditions matters that continue to be negotiated. Steady progress has been made on the conditions over the last few months with in-principle agreement on the consolidation of allowances.

TAFE and the unions have agreed on a further meeting to work through the remaining conditions issues.

There are a number of key outstanding issues that the PSA (CPSU) continues to have concerns around. These include the claim by TAFE NSW to increase the weekly working week for 80% of staff from 35 to 36.25 hours a week; not yet agreeing to keeping Rostered Days Off for shift workers; and refusing to include a clear cap on part year employment.

Part Year Employment is an important issue for all employees. There are currently over 400 TAFE NSW workers who are working on a temporary part year basis. The overall number of part year workers has increased significantly over the last 5-10 years. The PSA (CPSU) is keen to provide these workers with a more secure form of employment. However, TAFE NSW would like the option to expand part year employment further.

The new classification system should allow for TAFE NSW and employees to design and adapt positions to accommodate a wider range of duties. This should allow for more full-year positions to be created rather than relying on limited part year classifications. Over the next 2-4 years, the PSA (CPSU) does not believe TAFE NSW will need to increase the number of part year workers. In fact, the number of part year positions should be decreasing.

PSA (CPSU) Claim for Permanent Part Year Employment (PPY Employment)

  • PPY Employment should be limited to where there is a genuine need
  • Current long term temps should be given priority for PPY Employment
  • The current number of part year positions (after converting long term temps to permanent) should not increase during the life of the agreement
  • The total number of PPY positions should be reduced during the life of the agreement
  • Any additional hours or weeks worked by PPY employees should have a loading provided
  • Where additional hours are directed to be worked above the normal full time rate this should be paid as overtime
  • PPY employees should be able to choose to be paid as worked, or to annualise their salaries across the year
  • PPY employees should be able to defer taking annual leave for a longer holiday in a year or two rather than every term break
  • Rosters should be provided after consultation, and be for the whole year. Where the full year is not known, rosters should be for the semester to provide certainty for PPY employees.

The PSA/CPSU Bargaining Team

Leon Parisi – Sydney

Brook Down – North Coast

Brad Cowie – Illawarra

Christopher Hobbins – Riverina

Blake Stephens – PSA

Phoebe Dangerfield – PSA

More Members = More Strength

Please let non-members in TAFE know that they need to join the PSA in order to join the campaign to protect your working conditions. Every new member makes your union stronger and better placed to protect your valuable conditions.

Thanks again for your support and involvement. We will keep you informed as negotiations and our campaign continues.