TAFE & Adult Provision MEA bargaining update

In June of last year, the AEU, HACSU and 22 disability employers negotiated a rollover of the 2019 Disability MEA, with an additional 12 improvements. With the rollover agreement about to expire, the AEU and HACSU have been meeting regularly with disability employers over the past six months to discuss the format, funding concerns, and clauses that members want in the next agreement. We have also been lobbying governments to provide better funding and support for the workforce in this sector.

The unions and employers have been fortunate in securing the services of ex-commissioner Julius Roe to facilitate these meetings. Through these discussions, a decision has been made to apply for a supported bargaining authorisation to cover the current 22 employers who support the bargaining authorisation.

These 22 employers are committed to being employers of choice in the disability sector, offering above-award conditions and taking part in lobbying, alongside the unions, for better funding for improved working conditions.

With a female-dominated workforce that receives low pay and conditions, disability services are struggling to attract and retain workers. As disability employees are skilled and qualified to work in aged care as well, the boost in income to aged care workers through minimum wage increases has put further pressure on the disability sector.

The hope is that this uncontested supported bargaining authorisation will pass through the Fair Work Commission in a timely manner and enable bargaining to commence in the coming months. One of the key benefits of supported bargaining is that the funding body can be at the table. This will be a huge benefit in trying to obtain support for above-award conditions.

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