It has been a busy start to the year for the AEU’s industrial department, preparing witness statements and legal submissions for various matters listed for hearing in Term 1.
Among these, the AEU is fighting an application by Mambourin disability service to terminate a long-standing AEU agreement. This agreement provides for industry-standard terms, including six weeks of annual leave and 15 days of personal/carer’s leave. Mambourin is seeking to strip these conditions from its instructors.
The union also remains in dispute with Bendigo Kangan Institute (BKI) over the meaning of ‘assessment’ under the 2018 TAFE agreement. BKI seems to be taking inspiration from Humpty Dumpty in its argument that (to paraphrase): “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
The AEU takes the view that the question of the meaning of ‘assessment’ needs to be grounded in questions of fact as to what teachers actually do and not by the meaning that BKI chooses to ascribe to the term. The dispute will be heard in March and April.
After our successful appeal in Australian Education Union v Yooralla  FCA 1511, the AEU has gone on to settle penalties against Yooralla disability services for underpaying the AEU member concerned.
We are continuing to monitor the number of employees dismissed by their department, including those who do not make it through the probationary period. There were fewer dismissals in the TAFE sector at the end of last year than in previous years, likely due to enhanced job security won in the 2018 TAFE agreement.
The AEU has also favourably settled a number of claims for individual members in recent months, worth around $100,000.