TAFE EB10 delivers on pay, permanency, and programming
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No number, day Month Year, page no.
At the time of writing, drafting of the TAFE Queensland Certified Agreement – 2019 has concluded and we are awaiting notification that the employer will commence its ballot of acceptance of the replacement agreement.
In numbers, this milestone is the culmination of:
- more than 18 months of working with rank and file members, in branches and through your representatives at TAFE Council
- seven long months of negotiations and 24 formal meetings of the single bargaining unit
- six TAFE Executive meetings (to date) and three special, additional TAFE Executive meetings
- two periods of protected industrial action, totalling 26 hours.
This body of work has resulted in one agreement that delivers salary increases, improved access to permanent employment and programming measures to mitigate workload, as well as transitional arrangements ensuring that all TAFE educators employed by TAFE Queensland are protected by the collective industrial instruments, and an agreement that foreshadows gender employment equity measures as they become whole of government policy.
The salary increases that will be delivered across the life of this four-year agreement are significantly greater than the 2.5 per cent per annum that was on offer before our first protected industrial action. Clause 13 prescribes the timelines for the transition to the new educator classification structure. The introduction of senior tutor and senior teacher classifications delivers increased salary horizons, and all steps of the leading vocational teacher classification will be paid more than $100,000 per annum by the end of the agreement.
Clause 12 delivers “a one-off payment of $1,250 (pro-rata for part-time and casual employees) following certification of this agreement to eligible employees”. For most TAFE educators, this is equivalent to more than 1.5 per cent of per annum salary.
Improved access to permanency
The formal offer that TAFE Queensland tabled in September included a commitment to establishing a TAFE Queensland Consultative Committee (TQCC) sub-committee to review processes around permanency. QTU officers have already been working through TQCC to reach agreement on the terms of reference for that group. Further, clause 14 (b) (iii) will “develop a procedure that outlines the process for the review of the employment status of casual employees after 12 months of regular and systematic employment”.
There is a suite of programming commitments throughout the 2019 agreement, including clause 14 (b) (i) which promises a Best Practice Programming Guide for Educators that will support managers’ and educators’ consultation at the local level. Clause 14 (b) (ii) is in response to the QTU’s log of claims and includes “a review of TAFE Queensland Online operating arrangements, programming, future business model”. Clause 27.4 recognises the need for a reduced teaching load for complex delivery. 27.4 (a) states “A teacher, senior teacher, or leading vocational teacher with a complex teaching load will have a delivery timetable with a maximum of 18 hours of contact time per week or will be provided with appropriate tutorial or teaching assistance as required”.
Gender employment equity
Clause 9 (f) ensures that TAFE Queensland will adopt improved working conditions that impact on all employees regardless of gender, such as dads and mums accessing parental leave and fairer progression through the salary schedule for part-time workers.
“The parties anticipate that whole of government policy may be amended in response to the Review of the Industrial Relations Framework and other works carried out over the life of this agreement by the Public Service Commission and Gender Equity Employment Commissioner. TAFE Queensland is committed to amending employee entitlements with respect to gender equity in accordance to whole of government policy where there is no diminution of entitlements. Amendments could include, but are not limited to, parental leave, annual progression regardless of employment fraction and employment security.”
Transitional arrangements for educators employed on IEAs
In the 2016 agreement, TAFE Queensland committed to a review of education team leaders and educators delivering higher education, with a view to transitioning these employees from individual employment agreements to the protection of the collective industrial instruments, and transitional arrangements for these employees are set out in clauses 13 (a) (ix)-(xiv), while new appendices 5 – 6 prescribe their agreed working conditions. New in clause 22.4 is a competitive remuneration allowance, a payment that has been established specifically to ensure that no ETL or higher educator is disadvantaged as they transition into the protection of the industrial instruments.