Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Summary on TAFE’s job cuts

Summary on TAFE’s job cuts – Jan 2020 (PDF version)

Happy 2020 to all our members at TAFE NSW!

Twenty-nineteen was a tough year on many fronts, not least the job-cutting exercise at the end of the year.

However, despite the setbacks the union managed to achieve a lot, in holding TAFE to account, and growing the membership and presence of the union across almost all of the state – as well as getting over 100 members converted to permanent employment.

Unnecessary job cutting

It was appalling and offensive that TAFE NSW sacked some 200 staff from the organisation at the behest of the NSW Minister for Education – just before the summer holidays – for the sake of saving some money.

There is no justification for the Minister to cut TAFE further to the bone and nor is there any justification for the ham-fisted manner in which TAFE management failed to comply with government policy on organisational change by not affording all staff in affected areas/units the opportunity to undergo competitive assessment. TAFE evidently did not push back against the Minister to defend you and your colleagues against mean-spirited government austerity.

The union will continue to hold upper management at TAFE NSW accountable for all decisions impacting TAFE employees.

To see the Fair Work Commission win we had in early December, click HERE.

December, January consultation meetings

CPSU NSW Industrial staff and your Delegates Council met with TAFE NSW for four two-hour consultation meetings since the Fair Work Commission hearings in early December: 17 and 20 December and 7 and 9 January.

Individual issues

The Union has been able to address (and is still addressing) several outstanding issues for a number of members. For example, where it has been identified there is a lack of clarity regarding their permanency or higher duties status in relation to a particular role which is being deleted.

Job swaps

The union has successfully ironed out the job swap process and pushed forward numerous job swap applications.

Process of this review

The union has put a lot of pressure on TAFE to supply accurate information and consult about these heartless job cuts.

Your union has expressed strongly and repeatedly how disrespectful and uncaring TAFE has been in implementing its cost-saving/job-cutting exercise.

TAFE NSW said its job cuts were not part of the modernisation process or 2020 organisational change, but it was about saving money. TAFE has agreed that in the forthcoming modernisation process, it will adhere to ordinary consultation requirements on organisational design and follow usual NSW public sector placement processes.

The union will again challenge this if TAFE does not live up to its commitment.


Issues relating to the review of ICT were raised strongly at every meeting. Decision-makers of ICT, David Backley and Aaron Little, refused to attend consultation meetings so these issues could be discussed and addressed with your union representatives. Instead we had to supply written questions for their consideration, which they replied to (inadequately) in writing at the most recent meeting.

Further to their response, the union will follow up with TAFE on several issues, namely:

  • workload issues for remaining staff
  • who will be doing site visits
  • how will scheduled site visits be prioritised
  • how will jobs be escalated
  • how will rosters/travel/car access for site visits be organised
  • how will these changes to remaining staff work be handled (e.g. communication, inductions to sites etc).

Your union is currently reviewing the role descriptions of remaining staff to see if they will be asked to work outside their scope of duties.

Current employees are obliged to only to do work as described in their role description.

If, however, you believe at any time that your work has substantially changed from your role description, you are entitled (per Clause 23 of the Enterprise Agreement) to request a review of your classification. The Union will support any member wanting to press Management for a classification review.

Higher duties

The CPSU NSW supplied examples to TAFE about the number of people being asked to return to their substantive positions after long term acting in Higher duties. TAFE refused to acknowledge this was a restructure by stealth. The question remains – are the higher duties positions going to be filled or does TAFE believe it can force or direct others to fill in the gaps in the work?

Student Services

Workload for remaining staff is a big issue. Specific examples were provided to TAFE. See union bulletin on this specific matter, to be issued shortly.

Organisational charts

The union raised issue of no version control and inaccuracy of charts. Verbally and in writing TAFE admitted that organisational charts were incorrect/inaccurate. We raised that this is in contravention of the State Records Act 1998 (NSW) and our intention to bring it to the relevant authority.

Exit interviews

TAFE advised there is a knowledge capture process. The union said there was no need for this to be completed by staff as the predominant reason TAFE have given for their redundancies is there are duplicate staff. However, staff may want to give feedback about the process, and could ask for union support if they wanted to give an exit interview.

Request to fill process

The union provided TAFENSW with a number of instances of delays in RTF. TAFE IR is looking into these to see why there have been delays and we asked them to identify systemic issues. Members are reminded that where positions are not being filled – the advice of your union is to not pick up the work of vacated positions and contact your local delegate. *By picking up unfilled tasks it gives TAFE the message that the work is getting done and therefore there is no need to recruit into the vacancy.

The CPSU NSW will be meeting TAFE again in coming days to following up on all outstanding items.


  1. Talk to your workmates about what is happening.
  2. Contact the CPSU NSW’s Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679 to organise a members meeting
  3. Share this Bulletin with other TAFE staff.
  4. Join the CPSU NSW HERE


Industrial Officer
Matthew Drake-Brockman

Shane Jobberns
Chris Bird

Your CPSU NSW delegates

South Region

Brad Cowie

Robert Wurth
Regina Kimmich
Chris Pickering

Christopher Hobbins

West Region

Leanne Riley

Patricia Nethery

North Region

Gale Iseppi

Tighes Hill
Liz Garlick

Stephen O’Brien

Coffs Harbour
Brook Down

Garry Smith –

Sydney Region

Dawn Davis
George Bissoli
Simon Gray

St Leonards
Joe Harris

Patrick Kiss

Western Sydney Region

Tracey Doyle

West Sydney
Joanna Carroll

Blue Mountains
Glenda Pryor

Isabella Ramirra

TAFE Digital
Jin Cho