TAFE EB negotiations successful

Following several months of enterprise bargaining (EB) negotiations, October saw an in-principle agreement reached with TAFE Queensland on a replacement certified agreement and salary increases for TAFE educators. 

Key features of the 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 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 July 2018 and 1 July 2019, as partial recompense for the lost increase in 2014.
  • Protection of conditions that were under threat during the previous negotiations.

Negotiated clauses

The draft agreement 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
  • clearer provisions for training that separately identify professional development and mandated staff training such as Code of Conduct updates
  • 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, 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
  • inclusion of an EBA dispute and grievance resolution process that is consistent across TAFE services and educator employees
  • updated educator classifications to be consistent with RTO standards and commercial arrangements, and updated increment and emergent staffing provisions
  • common domestic and family violence and cultural leave provisions for educators and TAFE services staff
  • 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 and develop a range of human resource policies and procedures, including:
    • discipline procedure
    • managing unsatisfactory performance guideline
    • temporary conversion to permanent employment guideline
    • retraining and placement guideline 
    • programming and planning guideline.

Other joint commitments include:

  • discussion and clarification of the interaction of performance planning and development, managing unsatisfactory performance and discipline procedures 
  • discussion of ways to improve the management and utilisation of TOIL
  • joint development and delivery of local consultative committee training to representatives
  • consultation with the relevant union/s over any review of the approved teaching qualifications for the purpose of progression through the salary barrier policy.

What next?

The QTU’s TAFE Executive and the QTU supported the offer and recommended its acceptance. All TAFE Queensland members are being balloted in order to determine whether the offer is acceptable. In accordance with the industrial relations legislation, TAFE Queensland, as the employer, must also conduct a ballot.

If both ballots are in favour of the proposed agreement, it will then be necessary to apply to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission for certification.  We expect that this will occur early in the new year, and that TAFE Queensland will process back pay once practicable after certification. 

To view the draft agreement in full, visit www.qtu.asn.au/TAFE-Draft-CA-Oct2016

Updated salary scales are available at www.qtu.asn.au/TAFE-Draft-CA-Oct2016-Salaries

CQU negotiations

Central Queensland University (CQU) management has provided its proposed agreement, which is a single agreement and incorporates its log of claims items. The proposed draft includes VET educators, who currently have two standalone industrial instruments – the copied award and agreement. The QTU/AEU(Q) is firmly opposed to the single agreement and seeks to retain a standalone agreement for VET educators. Analysis of management’s draft will be provided as soon as possible. At first look, we have deep concerns and will be resolute in our opposition to any erosion of members' working conditions.

Kim Roy                                                                                                                         Assistant Secretary - Industrial/Research

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 121 No 8, 11 November 2016, p15