TAFE & Adult Provision A dual in the hand

Negotiations for improved agreements continue across the state for TAFE teachers working in dual sector universities. Here is a rundown of where things are at for each institute.

RMIT

Bargaining at RMIT commenced in May 2023, and much has happened in the year that has since passed.

Initially, RMIT management, the NTEU and the AEU met fortnightly to negotiate a new agreement for vocational education teachers and associate degree teachers at RMIT. Although negotiations were progressing, albeit slowly, at the ninth meeting RMIT management announced that bargaining had reached an impasse.

Following this announcement, RMIT management applied to the Fair Work Commission to deal with a bargaining dispute, which led to three sessions of negotiations facilitated by the commission and three further intensive days of bargaining in January.

Despite the unions feeling that significant progress was being made and that we were close to getting an agreement that members could support, RMIT again walked away from the table.

Despite the unions feeling that significant progress was being made and that we were close to getting an agreement that members could support, RMIT again walked away from the table.

Characteristically, in March 2024, RMIT put out a non-union agreement for teachers to vote on. Unsurprisingly, the management position was very strongly voted against, meaning that all parties should now return to the table to recommence bargaining.

The main reason the management position was not accepted was the pay offer of 3% each year across three years. This was below the amount members were asking for and did not account for the significant cost-of-living pressures. Then, without consultation, RMIT announced that all employees would be getting a 4% pay increase in June 2024 via an administrative adjustment.

While members are pleased to receive the pay increase, it was not clear how this might affect negotiations. RMIT has not increased its pay offer; management has simply increased the first instalment from 3% to 4%, meaning the pay offer for the other two years would likely drop. We are hoping to recommence bargaining soon.

Federation University (Fed Uni)

Negotiations at Fed Uni have been progressing well, with fortnightly six-hourly meetings. We have increased the frequency of meetings in the hope that we can reach agreement in the next few months.

Victoria University (VU)

Following VU reneging, midway through last year, on a rollover of the current agreement for 18 months, members have completed a log of claims and we will be looking to commence negotiations in the coming weeks. In the interim, VU have provided employees with a 4% administrative adjustment to their pay, resulting in an increase.

Swinburne

The current Swinburne agreement, negotiated in 2022, is due to expire on 31 December 2024. We will be looking to meet with members to develop a log of claims in coming months, prior to commencing bargaining.

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