TAFE workers fear for their jobs

A PROPOSED shake-up of administrative staffing in North Coast TAFE campuses has people fearing for their jobs, says the union representing them.

The Public Service Association says more than 200 staff in the 16 local colleges on the North Coast have been told their jobs have been "deleted"

PSA acting general secretary Steve Turner said North Coast TAFE management had failed to meet staff and community expectations and was now sacking the local colleges' lowest paid workers.

"Local people are losing their jobs and the loss of those jobs will hurt local economies," Mr Turner said.

Staff said North Coast Institute of TAFE director Elizabeth McGregor told them by video conference their jobs were being "deleted".

Some jobs would be replaced by temporary contracts at call centres at Kingscliff and Port Macquarie on much lower rates of pay.

There would be a few staff remaining at local colleges, but they would be forced to take pay cuts of up to 30% to keep a job.

"We are absolutely gutted," one worker said.

"We are the ones trying to hold the organisation together at the coalface while management fails to manage it."

But the TAFE NSW North Coast Institute branded a number of the union's allegations as "strange".

The institute's director of community and stakeholder relations, Tom Burton, said the new structure would create 157 long-term, full-time positions and 40 short-term positions.

"A big proportion of staff are now in temporary positions, we are actually wanting to create more long-term roles," he said.

He said if the changeover was endorsed current staff would be able to either apply for the new positions through the normal application process or be "priority assessed".

Mr Burton said the new roles would be a lot more closely aligned with the administrative needs of TAFE colleges.

"We want to have the administrative staff doing wholly administrative tasks, backing up the teaching staff doing what they do best," he said.

He was also mystified at the union picking out the term "deleted" to describe the changeover.

"Elizabeth (McGregor) did video conferences with staff right through the day and I never heard that term used," he said.

Mr Burton said the institute wanted to have the new arrangement's bedded down by December, in preparation for the new year.

"By December staff will have a line of sight on what the future holds for them," he said.

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