Chaos in TAFE SA | Cuts to Staffing, Numerous Restructures, Workload Issues, Impacts on Staff Well-being and Risks to Quality Student Service

14 February 2020

The Public Service Association (PSA) has today written to the TAFE SA Chief Executive (CE), seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the sudden and drastic actions being taken by TAFE SA in the last week. The letter can be found here.

The position of the PSA and members is that all of these actions are linked, and are directly as a result of a reported requirement of an immediate $15million savings out of a total $45million to be saved.

It appears that TAFE SA is choosing to achieve this by slashing staff. If there are any other reasons or plans that explain why TAFE SA is undertaking these actions, they have not been shared and consulted with the PSA or our members.

The current issues the PSA are aware of are as follows:

  •  Requirement of an immediate $15million of savings out of a total $45million to be saved.
  •  Vacancies not being backfilled or advertised; contracts not being extended; casuals use cut.
  •  All areas now experiencing increased workload impacts.
  •  Immediate impact on Student Experience and Facilities restructures - positions that were to be filled as part of implementation are not being filled, impacting on implementation. The workload assessments provided by TAFE SA were based on filled structures, meaning they are now null and void.
  •  "Education Transformation" restructure presented 5 February 2020 with proposed reductions to both educational and salaried staff. Both the PSA and the Australian Education Union have notified of a dispute, as detailed in the PSA Information Update released on 12 February 2020. TAFE SA has confirmed status quo. The PSA is awaiting a further response regarding workload assessments. Separate Information Updates will be issued to keep members informed.
  •  In addition, TAFE SA has advised of a further nine restructures in less than 48 hours. The PSA has been invited to, and will attend, each staff consultation session, however at this point it is unknown how many FTE will be impacted and what the proposals entail. What is known that these restructures will impact directly or indirectly, on every single staff member. The new restructures announced are:
    •    Digital Workgroup - Quality Teaching and Learning
    •    Curriculum – Quality Teaching and Learning
    •    Global Engagement and International
    •    Business Development and Regional Management
    •    Commercial Learning Resources (TAFEshop)
    •    Office of Chief Executive
    •    Finance Compliance and Procurement - Finance and Performance Business Unit
    •    Management Accounting and Performance - Finance and Performance Business Unit
    •         People and Culture
  •  The TAFECOM of 6 February 2020 also stated that the CE wanted to “...assure staff that no consideration has been given to any campus closures as part of these cost savings measures.” However, have campus closures been considered for reasons other than cost savings, given that members based at Gilles Plains are hearing that the campus will close this year?
  •  The work, health and safety of staff is of serious concern. As well as workload impacts, all of the above issues occurring suddenly and with no context are impacting on members’ wellbeing and morale. TAFE SA must provide an organisational strategy to support staff and keep them safe during these processes.

The PSA and members who have contacted us are extremely concerned that all of the above issues are already having a detrimental impact on the operation of TAFE SA. These actions continue to decimate TAFE SA and the ability of all staff to deliver an affordable, accessible and high quality service to the community.

This is a critical time for TAFE SA salaried staff. If you or your colleagues are not yet members of the PSA, please take the opportunity to join. We need a strong and collective voice to fight for fair and transparent processes, safe workloads, worker wellbeing and an affordable, accessible and high quality TAFE SA for the community.