When we invite our colleagues to join the AEU, we build our collective power and strengthen our capacity to drive positive change.
In a time of teacher shortages and greater work demands, it has never been more important for the profession to be highly unionised and to act collectively.
The ‘Free TAFE’ initiative has resulted in a significant increase in enrolments across the sector. However, after the previous federal Liberal government’s cuts resulted in 3000 job losses, many TAFEs are having trouble with class coverage and teacher workload. This is adding pressure to an already overburdened workforce.
It is important, during these times of stress, to speak up and fight for improvements. Acting in unison with as many colleagues as possible is the key to building agency and the power to make positive changes in your workplace.
Right now, we are bargaining – or preparing to bargain – for better conditions for TAFE members. If we act together, we have the best chance of improving entitlements related to workload, ongoing employment, assessment and teaching arrangements, leave and attendance, classification and qualifications, excess teaching duty hours, trade union rights, and salary increases.
When you invite colleagues to join the AEU, you help build our collective power. Let them know about our many successful union campaigns, from the AEU’s decades-long call for at least 70% of state and federal VET funding to go directly to TAFE, which federal Labor have committed to, to local wins such as improved consultation. Now is also a good time to talk about how unions have long been at the forefront of causes like the right for women to achieve equal pay.
When asking colleagues to sign up, it is important to share your own values and your reasons for joining the union. Mention any significant benefits your AEU membership has given you, whether it is a space to meet with colleagues to talk about professional and industrial ideas, access to professional networks, high-quality training, or industrial and professional advice. Sharing the ways AEU membership has made a difference to your life can be a powerful way to get colleagues on board.
At the same time, try to find out what is important to your colleagues. Maybe they are interested in accessing long service leave soon or hoping to move from a fixed-term contract to ongoing employment, for example. The AEU advances and protects members’ professional and industrial interests and secures improved pay and conditions for educators. It also leads and supports members to organise their workplaces and provides access to industrial and legal support.
Collectively, we campaign and lobby in the interests of public education, social justice, and workers’ rights. Our power comes from our tens of thousands of members. If you have a colleague who isn’t a member, urge them to visit aeuvic.asn.au/join or hand them a membership form.
Remind your colleagues that our wages and conditions have not just been delivered to us – they have been fought for by generations of union members. And that our best chance of improving the working lives of educators is through a strong, unionised workplace.