18 August 2016

To: QTU Members in Central Queensland

Central Queensland University VET EB preparations

The transition of Central Queensland TAFE to Central Queensland University (CQU) in 2014 included the creation of two new industrial instruments in the Fair Work jurisdiction: a Copied State Award and a Copied State Employment Agreement. The parties to these instruments are the Queensland Teachers’ Union/Australian Education Union – Queensland Branch (QTU/AEU(Q)) and AMASCU (Together) and CQU. Both of these industrial instruments have nominal expiry dates that are more than 18 months away unless they are replaced by a new agreement before that time.

The copied instruments do not contain provisions for salary increases, and so the only way to achieve an increase for CQU VET staff is to negotiate a replacement agreement. The QTU/AEU(Q) has been preparing its claim for members at CQU, in conjunction with TAFE Queensland members generally, which is now ready for your further consideration.

The QTU/AEU(Q) is also aware of the development by the NTEU of a claim for university staff in relation to their negotiations for a replacement agreement in higher education. 

Log of claims

The log of claims is the document that will inform QTU/AEU(Q) negotiations with CQU for a replacement agreement. In preparation for bargaining in both TAFE Qld and CQU, the QTU/AEU(Q) sought member input regarding issues for inclusion in a new certified agreement. That input was presented to TAFE Council and a draft log of claims developed. The log was further refined by TAFE Executive before receiving its endorsement. It is worth noting that two of the six QTU/AEU(Q) members elected to TAFE Executive from TAFE Council are members from CQU. 

The draft CQU VET staff log of claims is available here, for your information and consideration. In accordance with the decisions of QTU/AEU(Q) TAFE Council and Executive, the Union’s log of claims for TAFE Qld negotiations was not presented to TAFE Qld until they had the authority to bargain and their own log of claims to exchange. As these conditions have now been met, the CQU VET staff draft log is being provided to members employed at CQU for consideration and comment prior to finalisation. It is the intention of the QTU/AEU(Q) that, at a minimum, EB outcomes will achieve pay parity with TAFE Qld.

If you have further suggestions for the log of claims, please email them to tafe@qtu.asn.au no later than close of business on Thursday, 25 August 2016.

There has been informal discussion of bargaining between CQU and QTU/AEU(Q) and Together since the merger. For a range of reasons no formal moves have been made by either the university or the unions to begin the bargaining process. 

Replacement agreement for VET staff

TAFE Qld, like CQU, has informally indicated its intention to create a single certified agreements to cover all employees. In the TAFE Qld negotiations, the QTU and Together have opposed this, and will actively seek to maintain a separate agreement for TAFE ‘educators’ (to use the language of the modern state award). 

The position of the QTU/AEU(Q) with regards to a single agreement for Central Queensland University VET staff is no different. The QTU/AEU(Q) is currently liaising with the Together about its approach in respect of bargaining for VET staff at CQU. 

The Union is also aware of recent correspondence to CQU VET staff by the NTEU which has created concerns for QTU/AEU(Q) members.

To be clear, the NTEU has no status to represent CQU VET staff in negotiations as they are not a party to the current certified agreement or award. Indeed there are currently no negotiations under way. The Fair Work Act provides very specific requirements for the initiation of a bargaining period and the appointment of bargaining agents – none of these have yet been met by the university or any other relevant union.

What now?

Once final feedback has been received, the log of claims will be finalised without delay. The QTU/AEU(Q) will then be in a position to open discussions with CQU about a timeline and protocols for negotiation of a replacement agreement. The QTU/AEU(Q) and Together will work cooperatively to protect members’ interests and to achieve the best possible outcomes through bargaining.

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union