PSA wins historic victory for SLSOs in health care procedures dispute

Aug 3, 2016

The PSA secured a major win for SLSO members in the Industrial Relations Commission on 1 August 2016.

Read the bulletin HERE.

TAFE Enterprise agreement approved

Jun 28, 2016

TAFE enterprise bargaining agreement approved – June 2016 (PDF version)


The results of the staff ballot for your new enterprise agreement have been announced with 84% of staff voting Yes.

This Yes vote puts an end to over 12 months of negotiation, which have seen a number of back downs from TAFE’s original proposal rejected by the union and staff in November 2015. This includes:

  • Hours of work. TAFE’s original proposal had 80% of staff increasing their weekly hours to 37, for no extra pay. This was then revised to 36.25, before the PSA (CPSU) secured a 35 hour week for all staff. Current 38 hour a week staff will move to 35 hours from January 2017, without a reduction in their weekly wage, and the ability to continue receiving their RDOs.
  • Automatic transition to contemporary classification structure. TAFE’s original proposal had staff transitioning to the new classification structure via “restructure”, resulting in 100s of extra restructures throughout TAFE. The PSA (CPSU) secured automatic transition in January of 2017.
  • Salary maintenance. Throughout bargaining, TAFE consistently refused to maintain the salary of staff who faced a pay cut in the transition to the new classification structure. This meant that staff faced real cuts to their wages in excess of thousands of dollars. The PSA (CPSU) was able to force TAFE to agree to “red circle” or “maintain the salary” of anyone whose position transfers over at a lower rate.
  • An immediate 2.5% pay rise for all staff, followed by a further 2 years of 2.5% pay rises for the majority of staff. In addition, staff moving to a higher pay rate in the new classification structure will have their salary increased in January 2017, as well as any applicable increments every 12 months thereafter.
  • Broken shifts. TAFE wanted to extend broken shifts from the current long standing restrictions (available only for security officers) to all staff.
  • Permanent Part Year Employment (PPYE). TAFE’s original proposal allowed for an unrestricted number of permanent part year positions, potentially allowing TAFE to convert current full year positions to part year positions via restructure. The PSA (CPSU) won a restriction to the current amount of staff (650) working part year. Part Year Employment will also be limited to certain circumstances where ‘there is genuinely no work across the whole year’. This will be closely monitored at each Institute by the PSA (CPSU) and at the Peak Consultative Committee. The PSA (CPSU) will also closely monitor the use of part year employment to ensure TAFE does not go above the 650 and can justify each PPYE position.

The PSA (CPSU) have forced TAFE to move a long way from their original terrible proposal.

TAFE’s back down only came once members took the dramatic but necessary decision to take Protected Industrial Action. It is only through standing strong together, that these wins were secured.

There are changes in the enterprise agreement, particularly around PPYE and Flexible Working Hours, which will need to be closely monitored by the PSA (CPSU) to ensure that they are implemented in the correct manner.

This is why being a part of strong union is so important, because without the PSA (CPSU) fighting for members, TAFE will try to get way with whatever they can.

Whilst every single member is congratulated on the solidarity displayed to ensure TAFE backed away from their original proposal, special congratulations are due to your Bargaining Team for the dedication they have displayed in standing up for the rights of fellow members.

The negotiations were particularly gruelling and exhaustive, and delegates are required to undertake this work in addition to their normal jobs.

Your Bargaining team is listed below.

Leon Parissi – Sydney

Brook Down – North Coast

Brad Cowie – Illawarra

Christopher Hobbins – Riverina

Glenda Pryor – Western Sydney

Blake Stephens – PSA

Phoebe Dangerfield – PSA

What’s next?

The enterprise agreement will now be signed by the parties and lodged with the Fair Work Commission as soon as possible, with the first 2.5% salary increase payable from 1 July 2016.

The PSA (CPSU) will soon be commencing a number of enterprise agreement information sessions in order to answer any questions staff may have about the implementation of the new agreement. Details will be distributed next month about these sessions.

What can you do?

Speak to non-members about joining the PSA (CPSU). Whilst your union negotiates on behalf of its members, all staff benefit from the PSA (CPSU) negotiating the conditions within your enterprise agreement.

Encourage and assist a colleague to join your union, and we’ll say a collective thanks by giving you a $75 gift card!

Yet more reason to be Proud to be PSA.

PSA member wins compo case

May 9, 2016

Red Tape article (Jan – April 2016)

The Court of Appeal last year handed down a very important decision in favour of the PSA and all injured workers in NSW.

For the last two years, the PSA has been fighting to have an injured Correctional Officer returned to his previous employment under Section 240 and 241 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.

This member was injured undertaking his duties and as a consequence was medically dismissed and subsequently received a payout.

The injured Correctional Officer eventually recovered and wished to be reinstated to his previous employment. The PSA took his case to the Industrial Relations Commission where the Commissioner found in favour of our member. The employer then appealed this decision to the Full Bench of the Industrial Relations Commission, which overturned the original ruling.

The PSA then decided to appeal this ruling of the Full Bench to the Court of Appeal.

Your union made the decision to appeal as the matter had implications for all our members and because it fitted within its broader strategy of leading the fight against the unfair aspects of the workers compensation legislation.

On December 4 2015, the Court of Appeal set aside the ruling of the Full Bench and court costs were awarded to the PSA.

The only avenue of appeal now within the court system is to the High Court.

Medical assessments kept in check

May 9, 2016

Red Tape (Jan – April 2016)

The PSA has successfully lobbied the Public Service Commission (PSC) to improve its changes to medical assessments for non work related medical conditions and injuries.

Based on the issues the PSA brought to the PSC’s attention, the PSC made some improvements to the proposed guidelines, such as:

  • more stringent requirements surrounding consultation with an employee prior to determining if a medical assessment is necessary
  • mandatory steps that an agency must undertake when making a decision about an employee’s medical retirement
  • the obligation on an agency to investigate if alternative duties are available in the instance the  employee’s medical advice states that alternative duties are an option.

Under the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (NSW), agencies are entitled to direct employees to undertake a medical assessment if they believe an employee is suffering from a non-work related injury or health condition which is impacting on their ability to perform their role.

At the end of this assessment, there is the possibility an employee may be medically retired.

To date this process has been managed by a sector-wide policy.

However, in draft guidelines issued on 11 November 2015  the PSC proposed this policy be devolved to the agency.

Individual agencies will therefore be able to determine their own procedures surrounding medical assessments.

While the PSA welcomes the changes, some of the union’s concerns remain, including issues surrounding the devolution of the medical assessments policy.

PSA wins money owed to SAS staff

Apr 22, 2016

The PSA has helped win back pay for three School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs) who had been underpaid for years.

Three staff members at the one school were at times engaged less than the minimum two hours per day.

When they did work more than two hours per day, they were not paid for their 10-minute morning tea break.

The three members contacted the PSA Member Support Centre (MSC).

As a result, in November 2015, the MSC contacted the industrial relations section of the Department of Education and Communities, to advocate for members.

In March 2016, numerous incidences were uncovered of underpayment to all three SLSOs, who were each found to be owed about $6000.

The SLSOs will be paid the full amount by the department, which will then recover the monies from the school.

The school is negotiating a repayment plan with the department.


Indigenous flag dot painting small