TAFE & Adult Provision TAFE teachers deserve better

It’s been a busy term for members working in dual-sector TAFEs. As many of you know, workload and system pressures – including significant teacher shortages – are all having a negative impact on those working in vocational education. 

Teacher workloads are already stretched in the underfunded TAFE system, made worse by a range of factors to manage the funding shortfall, including the shaving of course teaching hours. This reduction in teaching time for almost every course means members are being made to accommodate additional out-of-class teaching and support to ensure their students can learn and succeed.

Fundamentally, both teachers and students are being expected to do more with less.

Fundamentally, both teachers and students are being expected to do more with less. Hardly what you would expect in the ‘Education State’.

This is why more and more TAFE teachers are choosing to leave the profession and return to industry. But that is not the answer. We need governments and employers to act in the interests of teachers and students. This means putting pressure on governments through lobbying and other activities; and it also means pushing employers to properly address wages and workloads through improved industrial agreements.

Swinburne members continue to move forward with the implementation of their latest agreement, while RMIT, Victoria University and Federation University are all due or overdue for new agreements.

This is a time when TAFE teachers need more support and better conditions as a priority.

Negotiations for a new RMIT Vocational Education Teachers Agreement commenced in May this year, and the early stages have been protracted. The AEU and its members are standing firm on keeping a single agreement to cover teachers in vocational education, while the NTEU is seeking a single agreement to swallow up both sectors.

A joint agreement covering both vocational and higher education teachers would put our members’ conditions and entitlements at risk, as the interests of TAFE teachers would be neglected in favour of the demands by higher ed teachers, who would be in the majority. We cannot allow this to happen.

This is a time when TAFE teachers need more support and better conditions as a priority. So, while we persist with good faith bargaining, we stand prepared to take action.

Earlier this year, Victoria University (VU) approached the AEU seeking a rollover agreement. Despite the union’s efforts, VU instead sought unacceptable  changes to the agreement in return for a salary increase. We are now finalising a comprehensive log of claims, pursuing negotiations for a new agreement, and developing a campaign to match.

Members from Federation University have contributed to a log of claims for their next agreement. The log is currently being finalised, ready to be endorsed and submitted in coming weeks.

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