27 November 2014 | No. 22-14 | Download as PDF

QTU TAFE council resolves to ballot for industrial action

The TAFE newsflash of November 20, 2014 informed members about a range of developments affecting TAFE members. As a direct result of the state government’s vocational education policies, the demise of TAFE Queensland for students and teachers is approaching.

In response the Queensland Teachers’ Union TAFE Council at its meeting of 22 November 2014, carried the following resolutions:

  1.  THAT TAFE Council endorse an industrial campaign to focus on the issue of the LNP government’s policy regarding TAFE Queensland, including redundancies, loss of programs, costs to students, closure of facilities, and stealing TAFE campuses and associated equipment through the QTAMA process.
  2. THAT TAFE Council conduct a ballot of QTU TAFE Division members regarding authorisation for industrial action, such industrial action to be in self selected centres, and entail either a 24 hour stoppage or stop work with duration, determined at a local level.
  3. THAT QTU TAFE Council note that the industrial action plan should occur in the first part of February 2015.

 TAFE council carried the resolutions due to:

  •  the state government funding policy has increased costs to students making many courses unaffordable,
  • the withdrawal of funding from many vocational areas disadvantages students who wish to undertake those careers,
  • the withdrawal of funding from literacy and numeracy courses for people with disabilities,
  • the abdication of  responsibility for quality control on RTO’s accessing state training funding,
  • TAFE having to withdraw services from communities due to the removal of assets from TAFE Qld control and having subsequently to pay exorbitant rental to retain access,
  • hundreds of teachers, educational support workers and other staff losing their jobs across TAFE Queensland.

TAFE Council’s resolutions on industrial action call for QTU TAFE based branches across the state to conduct a ballot for industrial action and to identify the nature of the action to be taken. Other resolutions passed by TAFE Council included additional future action to be taken, an associated media campaign and approaches to other unions.

QTU TAFE Branch Executives and Reps are therefore requested to convene a special branch meeting in order that a secret ballot of branch members is undertaken between the 28th of November and the 11th of December to determine:

1)  whether the branch commits to Industrial Action, and

 2)  If so, what form of action to undertake, a 24 hour strike or a minimum 2 hour work stoppage.

The QTU and the TAFE Council strongly recommend that TAFE members support the industrial action to attempt to arrest the destruction of TAFE and to draw public attention to the situation.

Results are to be recorded on the appropriate form by QTU workplace reps and forwarded to the QTU TAFE Organiser by close of business on the 11th of December 2015.

Branches are requested to inform the QTU of the time and day of the special branch meeting. Officers of the Union may be available to address members at that meeting, where ever possible, should the branch request it.

The attack on TAFE

More people have gained an education in TAFE than in universities; through TAFE, everyone can have a solid start in life, including the disadvantaged. It is where for many, “great” has happened in their lives.

A quality assured educator, TAFE has taught the generations of highly skilled workers who have built our state and grew our economy. For 130 years TAFE has put students before profit.

Yet as unemployment in Queensland grows and skills shortages loom, Campbell Newman’s government is slashing TAFE funding. TAFE is being forced to withdraw from campuses that it is being charged excessive rental for. Training equipment, even the desks and chairs, have been ‘confiscated’ by QTAMA. Hundreds of TAFE teachers and other staff have lost their jobs and courses are becoming harder to attend due to campus relocations, being dropped altogether or priced out of the market.

At the same time, the poor treatment of TAFE teachers industrially continues with claims for a new award to reduce conditions, on-going frustration of enterprise bargaining and no pay increase for nearly 18 months.

Stand up with the QTU and call on the government to reverse its damaging policies on TAFE and VET and restore appropriate funding to TAFE to ensure equity and access to quality vocational education for the people of Queensland.

It should be noted that members at Central Queensland University are not eligible to be balloted or participate in this action but are welcome to engage in associated activities

Graham Moloney
General Secretary QTU

Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary,Queensland Teachers' Union,  Milton,Q.4064