One of the big wins secured for members in the latest MEA was a new conversion process. According to TAFE figures from August this year, the process has seen more than 550 teachers converted to ongoing employment and more than 200 converted from casual to fixed term contracts – more than 750 in total!
This important shift means AEU members in TAFE can rely on the benefits of a secure job rather than being stuck on the casual employment treadmill. TAFE institutes are continuing to provide information about conversion rates, so we expect the numbers of confirmed conversions to increase over the coming months. Ensuring a quality workforce in our TAFEs has never been more critical. With thousands of new students in the system, there are many opportunities for ongoing employment for those who have been previously casual or fixed term employees.
How does conversion work?
This annual process, which generally occurs each year in April, has several steps. Firstly, a TAFE must clearly identify those teachers who are eligible for conversion. An eligible teacher is someone who has been employed on a fixed term or casual basis continuously for 12 months.
The TAFE should then identify the available ongoing positions. Where the number of available ongoing positions equals the number of eligible employees suitable for the positions, those employees will be converted to ongoing. Where there are more eligible employees than suitable positions available, the employer will utilise their normal selections processes to determine who will be appointed to the ongoing positions.
Those employees who are not converted to ongoing must be provided with reasons for the decision in writing. Staff can also apply for ongoing employment at other times – for instance, after 13 weeks as a casual employee.
Members can also seek to be converted to ongoing employment at a future time, without waiting for another annual conversion process to be conducted. The industrial agreement requires TAFEs to undertake the centrally conducted conversion process yearly and to provide the information about the outcomes of the conversion process to the TAFE’s multi-employer agreement implementation group (aka union consultation committee) and to the AEU centrally.
Some TAFEs have been doing so while others have not provided the information in line with what the agreement requires. We will continue to follow up with non-compliant institutes and will raise industrial disputes in the event that conversion reporting requirements are not delivered.
If you would like any advice on conversion processes, please contact your organiser or the AEU on 03 9417 2822.