16 Nov 2012
1.NEW EB CERTIFIED
2. TASKFORCE RECOMMENDS SWEEPING CHANGES
The new “Department of Education and Training TAFE Educational Employees Certified Agreement 2012” has been certified in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission as of Friday 16 November with the agreement of all of the parties (the Department of Education, Training and Employment, the Queensland Teachers Union of Employees and Together, Queensland).
This means that the pay increase of 2% can now be operationalised. The Department has advised that its intention is to have the increase and backpay to 1 August 2012 paid in the pay fortnight ending 14 December.
Members are further advised that all previous conditions and entitlements have been preserved in this 11-month Agreement, other than those clauses relating to security of employment, maximisation of employment and organisational change and restructuring which have been overriden by legislation (currently subject to appeal in the High Court).
While this outcome is a positive one for TAFE teachers and tutors, the next 7 months leading to the finalisation of the 2013 Agreement will be critical for the future of TAFE employees and for the future of the TAFE sector. This is because the Ministerial Taskforce on”Skills and Training” has recommended changes which would strip away the current conditions and entitlements of teacher and tutors.
While the Minister is publicly saying that the Government is still considering the Taskforce’s recommendations, his answer to a question without notice in Parliament on 15/11/12 about the Government’s response to the recommendations is revealing:
“We have problems in our TAFE system with industrial relations and we have problems with infrastructure. …… we have to look at our training dollars and make sure that we are spending them as efficiently as we can. That is why we are going to respond (to the recommendations of the Taskforce) by the end of the month. We need to make sure that the assets are used effectively, not campuses that are closed for business at night and that are used less than a third of the week by staff who are paid full-time wages to work 21 hours a week.
This government is committed to making sure we have vibrant TAFEs supported by this government, supported with more contestability and, most importantly, giving industry, students and workers what they want: real jobs in a vibrant economy”.
Predictably the final report of the Task Force has recommended “a new industrial arrangement for the TAFE workforce which addresses:
- the need for a wider spread of hours and contact time, including removal of the in-built systemic barriers to evening classes
- the current practice of non-attendance time becoming de facto additional annual leave
- implentation of industry competitive overtime arrangements
- the ability for management to have full discretion in engaging casual staff
- greater class size flexibility.”
Of further concern, the recommendation to rationalise TAFE institutes from 82 campuses to 44 could mean further downsizing of staff and more job losses.
WHAT IS THE QTU DOING?
The QTU has established a TAFE alliance with Together Queensland, to lobby politicians, the community and industry to oppose these attacks on the TAFE system. The QTU is also lobbying state and federal politicians about the recommendations to move to full contestability of funding and to put the control of funding into industry hands through a board that represents industry but not education professionals.
The most recent of such lobbying efforts took place at the Community Cabinet meeting held in Kippa-Ring on 14 November when QTU President Kevin Bates and members of TAFE executive met with the Prime Minister to discuss QTU concerns with the Taskforce recommendations.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Local action groups will be undertaking activities such as
- meeting with local MPs (state and federal)
- public campaigning (letterboxing, handing out leaflets at public events, letterwriting,)
Labor member of parliament, Shayne Neumann, has launched this petition in reponse to concerns from local TAFE teachers and students and members of his community about foreshadowed campus closures.
You can also join the TAFEbook page to keep up to date with developments and interact with other activists.
Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary,
Queensland Teachers' Union, 21 Graham St, Milton,Q.4064
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