TAFE & Adult Provision All together now in TAFE: staff petition for better agreement

  • By Rachel Power
  • This article was published more than 8 months ago.
  • 1 Aug 2023

The AEU is currently running a campaign calling on all TAFE staff to sign a majority support petition towards a Single Interest Employer Agreement.

For too long, TAFE members have been stuck on an outdated workplace agreement that prevents them from taking collective action to get the improvements they need and deserve – and TAFE employers want to keep it that way. But, thanks to new workplace laws, members now have the power to change this by voting to support a Single Interest Employer Agreement.

This would allow TAFE teachers to take protected industrial action about the many issues affecting their working lives. The pandemic placed even more pressure on a workforce already experiencing intense workload stress. The 2021 ‘State of our TAFEs’ survey found more than 77% of TAFE teachers had experienced an increased workload, with almost 50% describing this as significant. 

The TAFE teacher shortage is only exacerbating this situation. A lack of job security is one of the main issues affecting the attraction and retention of TAFE teachers. Along with improved wages and conditions, and measures to reduce excessive workload, secure employment is critical.

Job security puts TAFE teachers in a better position to raise workplace issues. And TAFE members need to address these issues collectively as a workforce. A Single Interest Employer Agreement would allow all TAFE members and their colleagues to step up and take action together for a better deal at work. 

When union members act collectively, we can achieve an agreement that gives members the respect they need and deserve.

Negotiations for a new industrial agreement covering TAFE teacher wages and conditions have been underway since June last year. But, after almost 12 months, TAFE employers have failed to address the key issues. In the meantime, workforce shortages have worsened the challenges. It’s little wonder that TAFEs are struggling to attract and retain teachers and educational leaders.

For AEU to make an application for a Single Interest Employer Agreement, we need a majority of teachers – both members and non-members at each of the standalone TAFEs – to sign the majority support petition and vote in favour of a single interest agreement.

This petition will let TAFE employers know the importance of securing a deal that addresses the key issues and gives TAFE teachers the respect they deserve. In the log of claims process leading up to this point, members were clear about the matters that need to be addressed in the next agreement:

  • Excessive workloads: Members called for a reduction in teaching hours and an increase in preparation time, and addressing shaved hours, and in-class assessment acknowledged as teaching.

  • Secure employment: Members want to see more ongoing full and part-time positions, along with improved arrangements for casual teachers, and a review of the use of ‘industry expert’ casuals.

  • Qualifications: Members want to be recognised for their skills, knowledge and experience, and see proper acknowledgement of the importance of education and vocational qualifications for high-quality teaching and learning.

  • Pay rises: Members want the role of TAFE teachers to be valued and respected and for this to be rewarded through improved salaries.

Support a Single Interest Agreement Collectively, we can achieve an agreement that addresses key workforce issues and gives TAFE members the respect they need and deserve. Please sign the petition here.

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