1 August 2013
TAFE EB to go to arbitration
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has approved an application from the QTU for the TAFE EB to be arbitrated.
The Commission found that:
- negotiations between the unions (QTU and Together Queensland) and DETE had broken down
- there was little likelihood that an outcome could be conciliated
- DETE had inappropriately sought to excise TAFE administrative and support staff from arbitration of the Core Public Sector Agreement and include them in the TAFE Certified Agreement (CA)
- any attempt by DETE to conduct a combined ballot of educational, administrative and support staff would thus be "null and void and of no effect".
The Commission determined, therefore, that the "QTU's claim for a new Educational Employees (only) CA" should be referred to arbitration. The Commission made this decision despite arguments from DETE that the Commission should postpone any decision to refer the negotiations to arbitration until such time that DETE could ballot employees on their offer.
This is a significant decision that vindicates the QTU's position and means that it will have the opportunity to present its case on behalf of TAFE teachers. DETE is prohibited from conducting an employer ballot while the matter is subject to arbitration.
The assistance of Together Queensland and the other public sector unions in supporting the QTU application was important and should be acknowledged.
Dates for arbitration are yet to be set and depend on the availability of the commissioners. Given that there are several other public sector cases currently in the process of or awaiting arbitration, it is likely that there will be some delay before hearings commence.
A copy of the QIRC decision will be made available on the QTU website once it has been officially released.
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