PSA to Lodge Dispute in the South Australian Employment Tribunal About Serious Consultation Concerns

08 May 2019

The Public Service Association (PSA) is in the process of lodging an urgent dispute in the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET), following correspondence received on Tuesday 8 May 2019 from the TAFE SA Chief Executive (CE), advising that the consultation period will remain as is – ie closing on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

In a PSA Information Update dated Thursday 2 May 2019, the PSA advised members of serious consultation concerns raised by the PSA with TAFE SA on Wednesday 1 May 2019.

Members’ concerns included the inadequate length of consultation period; poor notification of meetings; process to update current Role Descriptors (RDs) inability to provide input into proposed changed and new RDs; and lack of critical information including effects on FTE, classifications and roles, and workload assessments.

The PSA requested the above matters be resolved, including provision of all required information to allow members to provide fully informed feedback, and that consultation be a minimum of three weeks, re-commencing from when all information had been received. The PSA requested a response by close of business Friday 3 May 2019.

TAFE SA’s Chief Culture and People Officer emailed the PSA at 5:07pm on Friday 3 May 2019. The response advised that “TAFE SA will respond to all questions/concerns raised by the PSA by close of business Wednesday 8 May 2019.”

The PSA responded, advising that the PSA were not prepared to wait for TAFE SA’s response by close of business Wednesday 8 May 2019, given that this date is one week into the proposed consultation period, and significant information is still outstanding.

The PSA also noted that TAFE SA had not provided any response regarding the consultation period request by the PSA. This indicated that at this point TAFE SA is still proposing that consultation close on 15 May 2019.

The PSA has now written to the Chief Executive (CE) of TAFE SA, formally notifying of a consultation dispute under Clause 34 of the South Australian Modern Public Sector Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2017 (SAMPSEAS). The PSA required the CE’s urgent response by 5:00pm on Tuesday 7 May 2019 to the PSA’s request that the consultation period be a minimum of three weeks from the date of provision of all required information to the PSA and staff. The PSA also requested a response in writing by 5:00pm on Wednesday 8 May 2019 to all of the matters of concern, including outstanding information, as raised with TAFE SA.

The CE has responded to the PSA advising that the current consultation period will remain; and that all other matters will be addressed in correspondence to be forwarded by Wednesday 8 May 2019.

The PSA’s position is that even if all outstanding information was forwarded by 5:00pm on Wednesday 8 May 2019, this will allow only five working days for members to review all information in its entirety and provide fully informed feedback, due to TAFE SA’s refusal to extend consultation.

The PSA continues to receive a large amount of contact from TAFE SA members regarding these concerns, the lack of information, and the short consultation period for the “the single biggest transformation to occur at TAFE" impacting on 450 salaried staff. As a result, the PSA has now lodged our dispute in the SAET to ensure members’ rights for genuine and good faith consultation are met by TAFE SA.

The PSA will keep members updated.

Member Meetings
The PSA has contacted TAFE SA to arrange face to face and Skype meetings for all salaried staff in these Educational Business Units. At the time of writing, TAFE SA has not responded. A PSA Meeting Notice will be issued once these have been arranged.

This is a critical time for TAFE SA salaried staff. If you or your colleagues are not yet a members of the PSA, please take the opportunity to join. We need a strong and collective voice to ensure the process is fair and transparent and jobs and entitlements are protected.

Contact PSA or join online here.