TAFE NSW Enterprise Agreement – Member’s questions

TAFE NSW Enterprise Agreement – Member’s questions – June 2016 (PDF version)

The PSA/CPSU is recommending members VOTE YES for the proposed Enterprise Agreement. The union has received many questions regarding the proposed Agreement so hopefully this can address some of those. Members are also reminded that there will be a six-month lead-in period where the union can address any issues that come up, especially in relation to the translation.

How was an Agreement reached so quickly when negotiations weren’t going well?

There were a lot of negotiations on minor issues over the past six months. The most contentious issues were negotiated last, over the final few weeks. Due to the industrial action and campaigning by members, the PSA/CPSU won most of what we were after.

As often happens with negotiations, many issues were dependent on a final package being agreed. The union was not able to report to members at each stage matters were finalised as it depended on a whole agreement. This is why it looks like it was completed quickly.

Why the new classification system?

Importantly, it is to help members with improved job security. With so many classifications, more and more jobs within a distinct classification are moving to part-time, and part-year. With the ability to combine different activities and create new positions TAFE NSW can increase the number of full-time, permanent and full-year positions. Without this new classification system, part-time, part-year positions will only increase.

How will the classification benefit me?

It means that you will be paid for the level of work you do. This includes when your position changes over time. As you take on more duties, you and your supervisor agree on updates to your Position Description to reflect the new duties. Over time, your position can develop and you can apply to have your job reclassified. This means that as your job develops, you classification can increase and your salary can increase to reflect your position and your career.

Why are some people getting fewer pay rises?

This is an unfortunate aspect of moving more than 100 classifications into one system. The first proposal by TAFE NSW was to translate everyone across through restructures. No-one would know how the new system would impact and what would happen to their salary. The PSA/CPSU reviewed the proposal by TAFE NSW and found that most Clerk positions would lose between $2,000 and $5,000 per year, each. This was not acceptable and the PSA/CPSU pushed TAFE NSW as far as possible in ensuring the translation was as good as possible.

Look at TAFE Level 2. Initially this was to be only five steps, with a maximum salary of $43,766. This is now nine steps with a maximum salary of $54,072 in the first year. This also means TAFE Level 3, TAFE level 4 and TAFE Level 5 have much higher maximum salaries than what TAFE NSW first proposed.

The PSA/CPSU also won salary maintenance for all employees. This is regardless of any restructure that may occur, and applies to both permanent and temporary employees, including for future temporary contracts. Rather than have a major loss to your salary, every employee will get a 2.5 percent pay rise this year, and all but an estimated 11 employees will get a 2.5 percent pay rise in 2018.

How is job security improved?

The PSA/CPSU has been reluctant to drive an industrial campaign to convert and then limit the use of temporary employees. We have good provisions to prevent the use of temporary employment however at the moment this would cost hundreds of people their jobs. Part-year employment has been a genuine need in TAFE NSW over its life. But just because it’s part-year does not mean it’s genuinely temporary.

By providing TAFE NSW with the very limited ability to have some positions be part-year, the PSA/CPSU can now implement our industrial campaign to convert all temporary employees to permanent and campaign against any increases to the use of temporary positions.

Protection from part-year employment

TAFE NSW is currently employing around 650 people in part-year positions. More than 80 percent of these are all filled by long-term temps. TAFE NSW has agreed to limit the use of part-year positions to only where there is genuinely no work outside of semester, and for a maximum of 650 positions.

With these protections, the PSA/CPSU demanded long-term temporary employees be converted to permanent. TAFE NSW agreed to require each Institute to meet with the PSA/CPSU in the first three months of the Agreement to review every part-year position so we can see which positions can become permanent and which position will no longer be needed after 2016.

After this, the PSA/CPSU will implement our campaign against the use of temporary employment. Your delegates and local volunteers will be provided with training to help assess all current temporary employees, and help temporary employees to be converted to permanent. Where any application is unreasonably refused, the PSA/CPSU will challenge this. The union is already reviewing new positions being advertised and challenging any position that it temporary.

The new Classification System will also help push TAFE NSW into creating positions that are full-time, and full-year. While certain classes and courses are being reduced, positions can be re-designed to perform a wider range of activities. This will help TAFE NSW to create positions that are full-year, and full-time.

The PSA/CPSU is recommending to all members to VOTE YES for this Agreement.