TAFE & Adult Provision The state government is taking you for granted

AEU TAFE members need a decent pay rise.

Twenty months ago, the AEU served members’ log of claims on TAFE institutes. Eighteen months ago, negotiations commenced.

It’s now been 12 months since our members had a salary increase. The 2% pay rise delivered was merely meant to be an interim measure while a new agreement was negotiated.

Since then, the government has done nothing to deliver the wage rise our members need and deserve. Neither has it done anything to address the excessive workloads of TAFE teachers.

Teachers also asked for an improved classification scale that recognised their experience and the work they do. About that, too, the state government has done nothing but sit on its hands.

We are at the end of 2023 and the state government has ignored our claims, taken TAFE teacher members for granted, and not given you the respect you deserve. It’s not good enough – and TAFE members have a right to be angry.

We emailed, sent SMSs, made telephone calls, and got the thousands of TAFE teachers needed, to sign a petition demanding a type of agreement that supports their right to take action for a better deal.

And we are taking up the fight!

Members were very clear that they didn’t want an outdated Multi Employer Agreement. TAFE teachers need a form of agreement that allows them to take industrial action, unifying teachers across all of the standalone TAFEs.

The AEU and its members campaigned hard to achieve this. We had conversations in sub-branch meetings, staffrooms, classrooms, and corridors.

We emailed, sent SMSs, made telephone calls, and got the thousands of TAFE teachers needed, to sign a petition demanding a type of agreement that supports their right to take action for a better deal.

Our efforts were rewarded, with TAFEs agreeing, and the FWC deciding that our application satisfies requirements to have the 12 standalone TAFEs covered by a single interest employer agreement.

Getting the right type of agreement was a necessary step. While it doesn’t deliver salary increases or improved conditions, it does give us more muscle. And it looks like we will need it!

In the new year, if the state government does not deliver the funding needed, then AEU members will need to ramp up the pressure and take steps towards industrial action.

We need to stand up and demand better from the Allan government.

To do this without penalty, we need to take lawful protected action. This means conducting a ballot in which members vote on taking action that could range from bans or limitations on certain types of work to engaging in stopwork action across the state.

We need to stand up and demand better from the Allan government. We need to show them that they cannot continue to take Victoria’s highly qualified TAFE workforce for granted.

Any industrial action will be accompanied by a political campaign, which will include a media and advertising blitz to force the Labor government in Spring Street to respond.

In the meantime, the best action members can take is to ask your non-member colleagues to join the AEU. It’s not acceptable for any worker to get the benefits of your efforts as a union member without contributing to the cost, and to the campaigning.

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