TAFE NEGOTIATIONS – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

[page updated 23 April 2013]

1.        Will I receive a salary increase in 2013?

 

Providing that the parties have either completed negotiations for a replacement agreement or are continuing to bargain in good faith towards a replacement agreement, there will be a further payment of a wage increase, consistent with government wages policy of that time, on 30 June 2013. (clause 10.2 Department of Education, Training and Employment TAFE Educational Employees Certified Agreement 2012 )

On 19 February 2013, Ross Musgrove announced the Government’s recent decision to lower the existing wages policy for the Queensland public sector between 2.2% and 2.5% per annum inclusive of productivity. As such, should DETE and the QTU complete negotiations or continue to bargain in good faith, it is likely that TAFE members will receive a pay increase of 2.2% on 12 July 2013.

2.        What is a Single Bargaining Unit ("SBU")

 

A bargaining unit is simply a group of workers/employees who are logically placed together for purposes of union representation in collective bargaining. In this case, the employees are those engaged under the TAFE Teachers’ Award – State 2012 with the Queensland Teachers’ Union bargaining on their behalf.

3.        What is Good Faith Bargaining?

 

Good faith bargaining imposes an obligation on the parties involved to be open and honest and to genuinely seek to reach an agreement. Generally, bargaining in good faith requires the parties to:

  • state their position on matters at issue and explain that position;
  • meet at reasonable times, intervals and places for the purpose of conducting face-to-face bargaining;
  • disclose relevant and necessary information for bargaining;
  • act honestly and openly, which includes not capriciously adding or withdrawing items for bargaining;
  • bargain genuinely and dedicate sufficient resources to ensure that this occurs; and
  • adhere to agreed outcomes and commitments made by the parties.

This list is not prohibitive or exhaustive. In addition, good faith bargaining does not require the parties to reach an agreement or to agree on particular terms of an agreement.

4.         Interest Based Bargaining and Position Based Bargaining

 

Positional bargaining involves, in essence, each party trying to maximise how much they can win out of the negotiations. A gain for one side invariably means a loss for the other. In this framework each party will strategically adopt polarised positions asking for more than it expects to receive so that it will have something to “give” away when concessions are demanded.

By contrast interest-based bargaining emphasises cooperation. Rather than viewing each other as adversaries, the parties are challenged to work together in a collaborative way to achieve a result that is mutually desirable. Negotiation is over “interests” (what each party needs and wants), rather than on “positions” (each party’s “bottom line”) which stresses the concept of entitlements and/or rights. In interest-based bargaining it is the problem, rather than the opposing party, that is the adversary, shifting the negotiation focus to finding a solution that meets the needs of all wherever possible.

Interest-based bargaining is not a cure all. There will always be interests of the individual
parties (particularly those of unions and employers) that aren’t mutually reconcilable through an interest-based approach and will continue to be resolved through positional compromises.

Wage outcomes might be a good example of this. Not all issues lend themselves to an interest-based approach to problem solving, however an interest-based approach is a useful way to tackle issues from the outset.