TAFE & Adult Provision No campaign, no gain

Increasingly, we are hearing stories of TAFEs not following the agreement and asking teachers to work more hours due to staff shortages and inadequate funding.

As a result, we are seeing more and more teachers choosing to leave the system, putting further pressure on those who remain. Consequently, when we surveyed our TAFE members, it was not surprising to see them cite workload, job security and adequate remuneration as their key concerns. These issues are the focus of our TAFE agreement campaign, launched on 23 June. 

TAFE teachers from across the state joined online to plan and build the campaign, with a view to getting better investment in attracting and retaining a dedicated and highly skilled TAFE workforce. At the launch, members spoke of the need to forge unity across all TAFEs – and the union membership more broadly – through conversations about the obstacles currently faced by educators in the public sector: under-resourcing, inadequate remuneration, and a lack of workplace support. This was an opportunity to highlight the many challenges we confront, and to connect with other members, with a view to improving the situation in our TAFEs for teachers and students alike. 

Over the past month, AEU organisers and reps have been blitzing TAFE campuses to discuss the negotiations and the campaign, asking members to sign a petition calling on TAFE CEOs to support claims for a better funded TAFE system and an improved workplace agreement.

Members also discussed ways of building their sub-branches’ capacity and power – and committed to speaking with TAFE employees (both members and non-members) to boost numbers and improve structures, so that staff issues can be dealt with effectively and successfully.

Over the past month, AEU organisers and reps have been blitzing TAFE campuses to discuss the negotiations and the campaign, asking members to sign a petition calling on TAFE CEOs to support claims for a better funded TAFE system and an improved workplace agreement.

Members have also been organising visits to their local state Labor MPs, which will now occur in Term 4, to raise awareness of these important issues and the impact they are having on teachers and on students.

These actions are particularly important in the context of the upcoming November state election.

At this stage, there is nothing on the table that adequately addresses our key claims on salaries, excessive workloads, and insecure employment.

Agreement negotiation meetings continue on a weekly to fortnightly basis. So far, matters discussed include casual and fixed-term employment, conversion to ongoing, hours of work, attendance requirements, classifications and incremental progression, the allocation of duties, leave arrangements (including long service leave and maternity leave), consultation arrangements, and dispute processes. At this stage, there is nothing on the table that adequately addresses our key claims on salaries, excessive workloads, and insecure employment.

We will continue to negotiate in good faith as we build members’ engagement and activism in the campaign. The agreed bargaining protocols do not permit detailed reports on negotiations in writing, so for more specific details talk to your sub-branch representative or attend a sub-branch meeting.

TAFE is reliant on a dedicated and highly skilled workforce. These teachers must be supported through adequate funding for TAFE. We are urging all TAFE teachers to join the union and get involved in the campaign. Please encourage any non-member colleagues to sign up here: aeuvic.asn.au/join

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