TAFE SA - Notification of Dispute - Lack of Consultation Regarding Campus Closures | Parafield and Tea Tree Gully

05 November 2018

The Public Service Association (PSA) has notified the Interim Chief Executive (CE) of TAFE SA, Ms Alex Reid, of a formal dispute in relation to lack of consultation around the closures of Parafield and Tea Tree Gully campuses. The letter to the Interim CE can be found here.

Members working at the two campuses contacted the PSA following the release of a list of Christmas closure and reopening dates for each campus, which was attached to the TDay on 19 October 2018. It was noted that there were no re-opening dates provided for the Parafield and Tea Tree Gully Campuses. Members were concerned and distressed as this appeared to indicate those campuses would be closed after 24 December 2018 in terms of offering TAFE SA services. They reported that that there had been no notification provided to them; no discussions with them or their students; and that they found out in an attachment to an all of TAFE communication.

The PSA raised this matter at the TAFE SA/PSA Consultative Committee meeting on 24 October 2018. The PSA advised of our serious concerns that while it appeared Parafield and Tea Tree Gully campuses would not be offering services after 24 December 2018 (and it is noted that this was not disputed by any TAFE SA management present at the meeting), there had been no discussions with staff or students, and the PSA had not been contacted to consult around these matters.

Director Human Resources & Organisational Development (HR&OD), responded to the PSA via email on 25 October 2018 and advised that “...as you will be aware this was an initiative of Government and TAFE SA will consult with the PSA around staffing impacts as information comes to light.” The PSA responded on 25 October 2018 advising that it is obvious that TAFE SA is aware of more than is being advised to the PSA given that two campuses have no re-opening date post Christmas closure, and that the PSA will be escalating this matter to the Interim CE.

This lack of consultation is despite the Director of HR&OD committing to full and genuine consultation with the PSA and members at a meeting with the PSA and our Worksite Representatives on 17 September 2018; and despite a TAFECOM issued by the Interim CE on 6 September 2018, stating “Consultation and engagement must occur prior to any change, particularly with staff, unions, industry, the surrounding community, schools, councils and with any third-party tenancies which may currently be located on these sites.”

The PSA has requested as part of the notification of dispute:

  •  Confirmation that status quo will apply as per the South Australian Modern Public Sector Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2017 and, as such, any planning or other progression towards campus closures will cease until such time as this dispute is resolved; and
  •  Commitment to an urgent meeting with the Interim CE, the PSA and our PSA Worksite Representatives (WSRs) to be held before Monday 12 November 2018 to discuss the matters contained within the letter, and the consultation processes involving the PSA, our WSRs and our members.

TAFE SA has advised this morning (5 November 2018) that a response will be received by close of business today, and are arranging a meeting with the PSA and WSRs, as per the PSA’s request, on Thursday 8 November 2018.

The PSA will provide further information to all members following this meeting.

The PSA will also be visiting all metropolitan sites, including Parafield and Tea Tree Gully, to discuss these issues, and also the PSA campaign regarding the Urrbrae and Port Adelaide closures.