TAFE NSW says the union has 'misunderstood' job cuts

Liverpool TAFE. Picture: Chris Lane
Liverpool TAFE. Picture: Chris Lane

TAFE NSW has disputed the Community Public Sector Union of NSW's claim a state-wide restructure would result in 678 jobs lost across the state's campuses - including 92 in south-west Sydney.

Union general secretary Stewart Little claims jobs slashed across the Student Services and Facilities Management and Logistics sectors are part of two major restructures which will see 10 per cent of educational support jobs go.

The CPSU, which represents TAFE staff in non-teaching roles, say the jobs cuts will include people who work directly with students, including: student advisors, customer support officers, field officers, VET fee help coordinators, help desk operators, marketing and promotions support officers.

In south-west Sydney, the CPSU said cuts will affect the Liverpool (19 cut staff), Miller (9) Campbelltown (8), Wetherill Park (7) and Macquarie Fields (5) campuses.

"Gladys Berejiklian and Dominic Perrottet are deliberately dismantling TAFE NSW to ready it for sale," Mr Little said.

"What do the people of NSW get from this gutting of critical training infrastructure? Fewer jobs and a hobbled education system. In the middle of the worst economic downturn that the state has seen in a generation the Berejiklian government is closing pathways to prosperity."

However, a TAFE NSW spokeswoman said the CPSU has "misunderstood the information" provided to staff, confusing role changes for job losses.

"It is expected that the final structures will see a net reduction of fewer than 50 jobs across the organisation," the spokeswoman said.

"These are not frontline jobs. There are no teaching positions, or roles that support students in the classroom or with their studies in these proposed changes.

"In 2016, TAFE NSW announced a new One TAFE operating model to bring together 10 separate institutes and its digital delivery arm.

"We have been transparent with employees and unions these teams would go through organisational design as part of the One TAFE modernisation reforms.

"The proposed changes will ensure TAFE NSW provides students with a consistent level of service and equal access to information regardless of location, supported with excellent learning environments everywhere. TAFE NSW is taking steps to ensure no student is disadvantaged by these changes."

The spokeswoman said there are "no plans to privatise TAFE NSW."

"In fact, in 2020-21 the NSW Government is investing more than $200 million in capital works projects to deliver new teaching and learning spaces for communities right across NSW," she said.

"As required under TAFE NSW Enterprise Agreements, we are consulting with affected employees to seek their input and feedback on proposed changes over the next several weeks. Many employees have welcomed the proposed new model. The outcome of the consultation will determine the final structure, and will help inform the location of any roles that will change as part of this process.

"TAFE NSW has support in place to ensure a smooth transition for employees and is focused on minimising disruption to students, employers, and industry."

The union said it will be "fighting these job cuts at every stage".

Mr Little, Shadow Minister for TAFE and Skills Jihad Dib and TAFE NSW workers will hold a rally at TAFE NSW Ultimo Campus steps this afternoon over the proposed job cuts.

"TAFE NSW is a vital piece of infrastructure that must remain in public hands, not dismantled for private operators," Mr Little said.