TAFE & Adult Provision Non-union agreement erodes conditions

  • By Rachel Power
  • This article was published more than 3 years ago.
  • 27 May 2020

On 20 April, the Fair Work Commission approved a non-union agreement for RMIT Training, a separate arm of RMIT offering a range of pathways and training courses as well as all of the institute’s Foundation Studies courses. 

Negotiations for a new agreement for RMIT Training (RMIT-T) commenced in August 2019. Discussions were slow moving and difficult, in part due to RMIT-T management cancelling most of the initial meetings, minimising the time for union representatives to put forward our position. 

On several occasions throughout the bargaining process, RMIT Training management proposed putting a non-union agreement to the vote. On each of these occasions, the AEU was able to get them back to the negotiating table. 

Bargaining continued throughout January and into February of this year, with some gains, including a commitment to include TAFE enterprise agreement clauses that would establish a consultative committee.

However, without AEU endorsement, on 19 February RMIT Training put out to vote an agreement with clauses that removed hard-won conditions for our members. This includes the removal of the maximum 30 hours attendance on campus, meaning teachers can be required to attend for up to 38 hours. The removal of learning and teaching allowances also means a further increase in workload of up to 80 hours per year.

RMIT Training’s non-union agreement also sees the removal of the minimum requirement of 30 hours of professional development; no sabbatical leave; no improvement in job security for casual employees; and double the number of incremental points.

Although the time for primary and secondary parental leave and compassionate leave has been retained, it provides less time for each of these entitlements than achieved by colleagues at RMIT through the union-negotiated enterprise agreement.

Despite the AEU and NTEU both running ‘vote no’ campaigns, staff at RMIT Training voted in favour of the agreement. We continued to raise our concerns when the agreement was submitted to the Fair Work Commission, but unfortunately it was approved.

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