25 October 2016 | Download as PDF

CQU and TAFE Queensland EB updates and recruitment offer

While CQU EB negotiations have only just commenced, EB negotiations with TAFE Queensland have been underway for some months. We write to you today to advise that an in-principle agreement has been made with TAFE Queensland regarding the terms of a replacement certified agreement and salary increases for TAFE educators.

Key features of the TAFE Queensland offer

  • A separate agreement for educators, rather than the single agreement for all employees that TAFE Queensland originally sought.
  • Preservation of the 1 July start date, which is particularly significant for our members who are defined benefit superannuants, with backpay to be paid to this date.
  • Salary increases of 2.5 per cent per annum over the three years of the agreement.
  • An additional 0.5 per cent salary increase to be applied on both 1/7/18 and 1/7/19, as partial recompense for the lost increase in 2014.
  • Protection of conditions that were under threat during the previous negotiations.

These will not apply to you as CQU employees, however the QTU/AEU(Q) is very proud of the work done for TAFE Queensland members, and we hope to secure a similar outcome for VET educators at CQU, since a benchmark for a fair outcome has now been set. 

Regarding salary, the additional salary adjustment for TAFE Queensland is to remedy the missing 2014 increase, and we understand that there are differences for CQU VET educators, notably in terms of lost salary increases, the fact that CQU is not bound by the Queensland Government state wages policy, and that CQU is in a different financial position to TAFE Queensland. The salary gains for TAFE Queensland educators may not be indicative of the outcome at CQU. 

What we hope will be indicative are a number of the low and no cost initiatives agreed to with TAFE Queensland. We see these gains as striking the right balance between fairness to employees, and allowing some flexibility to ensure TAFE Queensland, as the public provider of VET, remains the premier provider. We seek the same outcome for CQU. 

Update on CQU negotiations

The single bargaining unit (SBU) met for the second time yesterday, and the topics discussed included coverage (ie. how many agreements there should be), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, the removal from the agreement/s of policy and procedural matters, and the span of hours. 

Management also provided their proposed agreement, which is a single agreement and incorporates their log of claims items. The proposed draft, which runs to 105 pages, includes VET educators. Currently VET educators have two standalone industrial instruments – the copied award and agreement. The QTU/AEU(Q) position remains: we are firmly opposed to the single agreement and seek to retain a standalone agreement for VET educators. The QTU/AEU(Q) was adamant on this point in negotiations yesterday, consistent with the view we have conveyed to management before negotiations commenced and in the first meeting when discussing our log of claims. We have also provided the SBU with a written list of concerns outlining our opposition to a single agreement. We are aware of management’s recent correspondence to you and assert that working towards a single goal of student success is not achieved by the erosion of working conditions evident in the proposed single agreement management draft, and can just as easily be achieved via the development of two agreements, rather than one, as has occurred with TAFE Queensland. 

Analysis of management’s draft, and a comparison to existing entitlements, is underway, and will be provided to you as soon as possible. At first look, we have deep concerns and will be resolute in our opposition to any erosion of your working conditions. One example of such erosion relates to the span of working hours. Currently hours for VET educators are dealt with in the copied agreement at 12.3 and the copied award at 6.1. 

Management’s draft expands the span of hours for VET educators (at cl 35.2.3) to 6am – 10pm, seven days a week. While the draft offers 50 per cent additional payment for work done between 6am and 10pm on a Saturday or Sunday, the increased span of hours means less opportunity for overtime and the removal of benefits conveyed by 12.3.2 of the copied agreement, such as work on a Saturday being by mutual agreement.

We encourage you to consider what management is proposing, and to provide us with feedback regarding the matters which concern you most. The management proposal is just a proposal and is rightly the topic of bargaining – negotiations are scheduled to continue for several months yet.

Impact of TAFE Queensland negotiations on CQU 

While not all of the clauses set out below will be directly relevant to CQU, where relevant these clauses inform our position in negotiations with university management. CQU has developed a draft agreement which includes their proposed clauses, as outlined in their log of claims, just as we have clauses we propose. The clauses proposed by the parties are the subject of the negotiations, which are still in their infancy. Nothing is yet certain, as we cannot predict the outcome of bargaining so early on.

TAFE Queensland negotiated clauses

The draft TAFE Queensland Educators Certified Agreement 2016 contains several new or updated clauses which address matters raised in our log of claims, as well as retaining existing entitlements. These include:

  • clearer non-attendance time, preparation, professional development and programming arrangements
  • strengthened consultation provisions, including clear consultation expectations
  • updated workload management provisions
  • clarity around moderation and validation, and recognition of prior learning
  • a classifications review, which may lead to the introduction of educator classifications for team leaders (ie. qualifications coordinators), associate lecturers, lecturers and senior lecturers
  • clearer discipline and suspension powers
  • a team-based working arrangement provision, which will enable educator teams and TAFE Queensland to enter into arrangements by agreement that facilitate good programming practice and permit agreed changes, subject to LCC approval and a joint statement outlining an approval framework
  • inclusion of educator currency and competency provisions consistent with regulator standards
  • educator classifications consistent with RTO standards 
  • common domestic and family violence and cultural leave provisions for educators and TAFE services staff
  • a new provision to enable, where the need arises, the development of joint statements, ie. statements of agreed principles on matters that may be unclear to the workforce (the QTU and DET have successfully used these for many years, on matters such as the use of data and collegial engagement)
  • joint commitments to review or develop a range of human resource policies and procedures, including a discipline procedure, a programming and planning guideline and a temporary conversion to permanent employment guideline

Draft agreement

The draft TAFE Queensland agreement contains the clauses agreed in principle during negotiations, and if the upcoming ballot of TAFE members is successful, the resulting agreement will be signed and certified. Please contact us if you have any questions about the proposed document, how the new clauses will work or suggestions on how they could be tailored to CQU. The best way to get in touch is via email to tafe@qtu.asn.au 

To view the draft TAFE Queensland agreement in full, click here

Inviting potential members to join - 2016 recruitment campaign

The QTU/AEU(Q) has a proud history of high levels of membership. All members of the Union enjoy the benefits of this high membership through the services the Union provides and campaigns conducted on a national, state, regional and workplace level.

Our industrial and professional strength comes from our size, and it is important to ensure that every potential member has the opportunity, and is invited, to join the QTU/AEU(Q).

This year we will be conducting an intensive three-week membership growth campaign from Monday 17 October – Friday 4 November. During this time, any potential member who joins using the direct debit payment scheme will not be liable for any payment until the first instalment in February 2017.

We have a lot to be proud of, but there is a need for members to work together collectively in ensuring their professional and industrial rights and entitlements are achieved in each workplace. One of the best ways this can be achieved is through maximising the number of potential members who are encouraged to join the Union.

It is also important to note that if any potential member completes a hard copy membership application, they will need to complete the direct debit section of the application to receive the special offer.

For more details, click here.

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