In a major show of solidarity, union members have banded together to secure their collective right to a Single Interest Employer Agreement covering all teachers, senior educators, and education managers employed in Victoria’s 12 standalone TAFEs.
Workforce shortages in many industries combined with the current pressures in TAFE have made attraction, retention and job security major issues across Victoria’s TAFE system. Teachers have been calling for better working conditions for years – but the chronic lack of state government funding, and the limited rights available to members to take action under their outdated workplace agreement, have been major obstacles.
New industrial laws provide a path to a new type of agreement that allows members to consider taking protected industrial action. Through a majority support petition, more than 50% of teachers, senior educators, and education managers have signed to say they want to bargain together for a Single Interest Employer Agreement.
The activism of members, AEU reps, and union organisers led to this success. We have now applied to the Fair Work Commission for a single interest employer authorisation and await its decision. Once approved, all TAFE members will be able to campaign together for a better deal at work. TAFE members’ voices need to be heard by the government – and we are making this happen.
Low funding means job cuts at Victoria University
In June this year, Victoria University (VU) announced that it would be asking for voluntary redundancies from TAFE teaching staff and senior educators across all classification levels. This is occurring as we start bargaining for a new teaching staff agreement at VU – a dual-sector TAFE and university. Job security, better pay and conditions, and reducing workloads are the focus of negotiations.
TAFEs need better support from both levels of government so that vocational education courses and programs do not come under threat, resulting in staff redundancies. Australia desperately needs a highly skilled and qualified vocational workforce for the future – but to do this, TAFEs need adequate government funding.
Register for this year’s TAP Conference
Hearing what members need at work, and channelling those into organised efforts so you can lobby and campaign to improve your working lives, is the aim of our biennial TAP Conference. ‘Giving Members a Voice’ will be held on Thursday 26 October at the AEU building in Abbotsford. All AEU members from the TAFE, disability and AMES sectors are invited to attend this highly anticipated in-person event. Click here to register.