TAFE & Adult Provision Your pay and conditions need your activism

With negotiations for a new TAFE teachers agreement due to kick off this month, now is the time for all TAFE members to have their say on pay and conditions.  

The current Victorian TAFE Teaching Staff Agreement 2018, which covers teachers in the 12 standalone TAFE institutes, expires in October 2022, and TAFE members around the state have contributed to a log of claims that outlines the improvements we want to see in the next agreement. 

A log of claims is a document that the union serves on TAFE employers. It forms the union’s starting position for negotiations.  

Our claims are directly informed by member feedback on the issues that you want addressed – for example, excessive workloads, conversion to ongoing employment, salary increases, leave and attendance arrangements, classifications and qualifications, excess teaching duty hours, and trade union rights, among many others. 

In the AEU’s State of our TAFEs survey, members told us that:

  • on average, you are working almost a day a week of unpaid overtime
  • two-thirds of teachers have recently considered leaving the profession
  • excessive administration duties and poor management approach to teachers are key issues that need to be addressed
  • workload pressures are having a negative impact on the provision of quality education and training 
  • online delivery has increased working hours and workload intensity, and decreased morale.

The survey paints a picture of a profession under stress and a TAFE system that is not doing enough to support its most valuable asset – its teachers.

Through the log of claims, members have identified solutions to their matters of concern. Every member has been able to participate in this process through their AEU sub-branch, and by taking part in our member survey.

At the end of March, a final log of claims was endorsed by the TAFE teacher members elected to the union’s TAFE and Adult Provision Council.

Campaigning for a new agreement

Building a log of claims is an important starting point for our campaign, but once negotiations commence, winning improvements to your pay and conditions will involve members actively taking action to put pressure on TAFE employers and the Andrews state government.

The recent AEU campaign in the schools sector saw our members build pressure through lobbying local members of parliament; taking actions to highlight key issues, which attracted TV, radio, newspaper, and social media coverage; and, ultimately, taking industrial action.

We know that applying this sort of campaign pressure works. When the Andrews government was elected back in 2014, they promised to ‘save TAFE’. Much more still needs to be done before this is achieved.

In the lead up to the state election in November, we need to remind MPs and the Premier that a new agreement, which provides fair wages and conditions, must be part of the strategy to save TAFE.

Please get active and involved in our campaign as the negotiations for a new agreement get underway.

Better pay and conditions can and will be achieved if we continue to build our member numbers and campaign collectively to support our claims.

If you know of any colleagues yet to join the AEU, urge them to sign up today.

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