23 February 2017 | View as pdf
TO: QTU MEMBERS IN CENTRAL QUEENSLAND
EB update and campus consolidation
We write to you today about two significant issues impacting on your employment, EB negotiations and the campus consolidation project.
The QTU/AEU(Q) is aware of the proposal made by CQU to “consolidate” campuses, particularly the move in Rockhampton from Canning St to the Rockhampton North campus. While we can understand why the university seeks to deliver all levels of teaching and learning at the same location, we have a number of concerns regarding the move and have expressed these concerns to management.
We have advised management that it would be unacceptable if the new facilities, particularly at Rockhampton North campus, are inferior to those that currently exist. While dated, the Canning St campus contains impressive facilities, particularly for trade training. The Union understands that while it is the intent of CQU to replicate some facilities, the University will seek for members to deliver some training in industry. While this is not unheard of, the facilities that exist at Canning St offer CQU VET students an opportunity to develop their skills in an optimum training environment. They also provide a significant competitive advantage to the public provider of VET, enabling it to deliver better training in better facilities than private registered training organisations can – an advantage that should not be given up lightly.
We understand staff currently working at Canning St will soon be invited to participate in consultation regarding what infrastructure and facilities they require in order to continue delivering VET courses. At this time, we encourage members to participate fully and to be open and honest about what they need to ensure the optimum delivery of training to current and future CQU VET students. Members should provide feedback in writing (an email following the consultation meetings should suffice), in the event of later concerns about the facilities provided. Additionally members may seek to hold a workplace meeting to establish an agreed set of minimum level of infrastructure required in any new facility. The resolutions should be communicated to both management and the QTU.
EB negotiations have recommenced following the Christmas break. The parties have committed to Monday and Tuesday full day meetings for at least all of February and March.
Since negotiations recommenced, some progress has been made. The AEU(Q) is fighting hard to retain existing conditions while also proposing clauses to enable CQU to better compete against private RTOs, to secure industry contracts and, as the public provider, be the premier provider of vocational education and training in the region.
While there has been some progress, for example we have managed to restore most of the existing LVT and class size conditions, there is still a lot of work to be done. Entire clauses have been left out of the copied agreement and award, and most of the conditions that have been included appear in the management draft in a far inferior form to current entitlements – examples include span of hours and job security/fixed term contract provisions.
We have consistently reiterated our desire for a separate agreement for VET educators. Similarly, management has repeatedly indicated its opposition to this, and its preference for a single agreement.
Even more significant to us than a separate agreement is the retention of existing conditions. To our minds, any significant change in existing conditions will only be acceptable if there is a generous pay increase and a consideration of their impact on workload. Members would also need to accept these changes.
The QTU /AEUQ believe that broad parity of pay and conditions between members in CQU and TAFE QLD is a cornerstone of the public providers’ ability to provide better quality training, and thus attract more students, than private RTOs. Consequently we continue to resist any move in negotiations to erode this parity.
Members need to be aware that negotiations are ongoing and the Union and CQU remain divided on a range of issues. It is unlikely these can be resolved quickly. In our favour is the fact that the copied instruments remain in force for another 18 months. The AEU(Q) remains committed to the interests of VET educators and their students, and we will continue to fight for them.
Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
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