23 June 2014

Transfer to the new TAFE Queensland statutory authority

On 1 July 2014, TAFE employees are to be transferred to the new TAFE Queensland statutory authority. There are a number of matters that QTU TAFE members need to be aware of that significantly affect their working conditions.

Transfer regulation

After long delays and no consultation, the "transfer regulation" to facilitate movement of TAFE employees was published on Friday, 20 June. The regulation specifically guarantees the accrued rights of transferring employees to "annual, sick, long service or other leave and superannuation". The regulation does not mention the TAFE Certified Agreement or TAFE Award. However, the Industrial Relations Act provides that "successor" employers are bound by existing awards and agreements. The QTU is seeking legal advice to make sure this is the case.

Public service directives

Public service directives, which regulate a number of employee conditions, will no longer apply to TAFE Queensland employees when they move across to the statutory authority on 1 July, as TAFE employees will no longer be public servants. DETE has recently provided the QTU with drafts of the TAFE Queensland policy documents that will replace the directives. These policies replicate the conditions contained in the directives. Among the conditions that are covered are:

  • leave entitlements
  • allowances
  • transfer and appointment expenses
  • redundancy and retrenchment entitlements
  • higher duties.

TAFE EB

Following the Industrial Court decision to uphold the DETE appeal of the referral of the TAFE EB negotiations to arbitration, unions and employer have returned to the Industrial Relations Commission. Over the past few weeks there have been intense confidential negotiations to achieve an agreement. Unfortunately, in the end the positions of the unions and employer were still too far apart and it was concluded that there was no chance of the parties reaching agreement on several significant matters. 

The parties have now been asked to prepare submissions in relation to the QTU's application for the matter to be referred to arbitration. These will be considered in July (i.e. after the transfer regulation takes effect). DETE is likely to oppose referral to arbitration and has suggested that it may again appeal against a decision to refer.

CQIT

Employees at Central Queensland Institute of TAFE will also be transferred to a new employer on 1 July, Central Queensland University. This will move these employees out of the state industrial relations system and into the federal, Fair Work regime. While members will undoubtedly continue to refer to the QTU, it will actually be the Union's federally registered entity, the Australian Education Union, Queensland Branch that will have coverage. Almost all members of the QTU are also members of the AEU.

The QTU/AEU has been involved in negotiations with the university about the transfer of CQIT employees and is satisfied that the salaries and conditions of QTU/AEU members will continue in all significant respects to be maintained.


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