It will come as no surprise that wages are top of the agenda when it comes to our TAFE members, as it is essential that salaries and conditions remain competitive and address the key issues for teachers in TAFE if we want to attract and retain staff in the sector.
The teacher shortage is at crisis point across the public education system, and this issue has been gaining plenty of media attention. If working conditions don’t improve, TAFEs will continue to struggle to hold onto existing teachers, and fail to attract new ones.
When it comes to finding qualified vocational education teachers, standalone TAFEs compete with each other and with dual-sector universities, but they also compete with industry. With low unemployment rates, and a huge demand for highly experienced workers, many TAFE teachers are considering a return to jobs in trades and other industries where salaries can be higher.
These experienced, highly skilled teachers are the very people we need to retain in our TAFE system. It is imperative that the Victorian government addresses the skills shortage as a matter of urgency. Developing the skilled workforce of the future starts at TAFE. Its teachers must be properly valued through an improved workplace agreement and better career opportunities.
Developing the skilled workforce of the future starts at TAFE. Its teachers must be properly valued through an improved workplace agreement and better career opportunities.
When negotiating new agreements, TAFEs will inevitably talk about budget restraints. But we need to remember that increases to both pay and superannuation, and workload relief, play an essential role in maintaining a high-quality TAFE system with a qualified workforce educating the next generation of skilled workers.
As writer, teacher and AEU organiser Edwina Preston points out in her latest ‘Talking TAFE’ column, TAFE is nothing without its teachers. They are the sector’s “goldmine”.
The AEU is currently calling on all TAFE staff to sign a majority support petition towards a Single Interest Employer Agreement.
For too long, TAFE members have been stuck on an outdated workplace agreement that prevents them from taking protected industrial action – and TAFE employers want to keep it that way. But new workplace laws mean union members now have the power to demand a Single Interest Employer Agreement if a majority of employees vote in favour. This would allow TAFE members to take collective action on the many issues affecting their working lives.
As the campaign moves forward, we urge you to remind your colleagues that they are the heart of TAFE, to join the union, stay strong and united – and show our government that we will not back down until we get the recognition that TAFE teachers deserve.
Sometimes people just need to be asked – so urge your non-member colleagues to join today at aeuvic.asn.au/your-job/tafe. When we build our numbers, we build our strength, and together we can put pressure on management and win a better deal.