TAFE SA PSA Update: Covid-19; Multiple Restructure Dispute; Local Workload Consultative Forums

23 June 2020

Your Public Service Association (PSA) Organiser and your PSA Worksite Representatives (WSRs) continue to support and advocate for TAFE SA PSA members in a number of areas. This Information Update contains the latest information on those matters.

PSA members would be aware from the PSA’s Members Returning to the Workplace Information Update issued on 10 June 2020 (here) that agencies should develop a plan for the return of staff to the workplace, and Health and Safety Representatives, the PSA and all staff should be consulted, prior to staff returning from working remotely. Any return should be in phases or stages so systems and processes can be tested and adapted if needed.

The Commissioner for Public Sector Employment has developed documents to support this process.

The PSA has not received any draft plans from TAFE SA for consultation, only emails on 13 and 14 May 2020 that state “..there will be a TAFE SA wide planned approach to safely return staff who have a current working from home agreement to campuses” and “As we did with our WFH strategy we will engage with the union when we make a decision to begin moving staff members back to campus.

The PSA will ensure that TAFE SA do consult with members and the PSA in these return to work planning and transition processes, and that these plans meet the requirements of government guidelines, SA Health advice, and Work, Health and Safety COVID-19 requirements.

The PSA will keep members informed as this occurs.

The PSA remains in dispute with TAFE SA regarding these restructures. The PSA’s last Information Update regarding this matter on 15 May 2020 contained the PSA’s letter to TAFE SA about their response to the PSA’s feedback in relation to TAFE SA’s Workload Assessments for the proposed structures. The PSA again thanks all members for forwarding their comments and feedback.

Since that time, TAFE SA has been in contact with the PSA and some further meetings have been held between TAFE SA and the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) Industrial Relations Director and Senior Adviser, and the PSA, WSRs, and members. The status on those Restructures is as follows:

  •  Office of the Chief Executive: A meeting with staff and a PSA WSR has been held, providing the final structure, with some changes made as a result of PSA feedback. Implementation of the new structure, following advertising of new roles, is planned for mid-July 2020.
  •  People and Culture: A meeting between TAFE SA and DTF, and the PSA and WSRs, was held to discuss continuing concerns about the proposed loss of the Industrial Relations team and the need for TAFE SA to support HRBPs undertaking this work with upskilling and mentoring/coaching. We also sought further clarity about the maintenance of current relationships between HRBPs and Business Units. The PSA is awaiting a meeting with TAFE SA and staff to discuss final proposals.
  •  Quality Teaching and Learning - Digital Education Unit restructure and Curriculum restructure: Further meetings between TAFE SA and DTF, and the PSA, WSRs and members, have been held about both of these proposed restructures. Numerous issues have been raised about both areas. The PSA and members have concerns about many matters that appear not to have been considered in the Workload Assessments, as covered in the PSA’s correspondence to TAFE SA. The PSA is awaiting further response from TAFE SA regarding both of these areas.
  •  Financial Compliance and Procurement; Management Accounting and Performance restructure; Global Engagement and International; and Business Development and Regional Management restructures: TAFE SA has advised that these restructures are all being reconsidered based on feedback. The PSA is awaiting further meetings regarding these areas.

The PSA will continue to update members further as these matters progress.

The PSA recently held training for your PSA LWCF representatives about their roles on these forums.

As noted in previous PSA Information Updates, following the dispute in the South Australian Employment Tribunal regarding the SE restructure, TAFE SA committed to holding LWCFs with PSA representatives across SE, to ensure that workload issues are monitored and addressed. The provisions for LWCFs is in Clause 15 of your South Australian Modern Public Sector Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2017.

Meetings will be held monthly. The role of your representatives is to consult with staff about workload issues, represent and advocate for members at the LWCFs, feedback to members and work with members in their areas to collectively develop solutions.

Your representatives cannot do this alone. They will need the support of all members in their areas to ensure that these issues are not ignored and can be resolved.

PSA members interested in helping to make a difference in the Health and Community, and Trade and Industry areas, are encouraged to email PSA. It is not too late to participate, as we are still awaiting the date of the first meeting.

Members are encouraged to contact one of your area’s PSA representatives at any time about any workload issues.

The PSA will keep members updated about the above issues.

If you are leaving the public sector, now is the time to pass the PSA baton to those who are coming through. Make sure those around you who are continuing in public sector employment understand and build on the great work of previous generations of PSA members – and protect your legacy.

Encourage your colleagues to join the PSA to ensure the PSA remains strong well into the future.

And if you are one to whom the PSA baton is passed – make sure you grasp it with the pride with which it is passed, and enjoy being part of the PSA’s longstanding success in protecting and improving PSA members’ working lives.