QTU TAFE EB10 bulletin no.2 3 April 2019
Addressing workload is a QTU priority in this EB
The voice of QTU members employed as tutors, teachers and leading vocational teachers in TAFE colleges around the state is being heard in EB10 negotiations. QTU members identified workload as a priority matter to be addressing in our EB10 log of claims, and that is why the single bargaining unit received the unequivocal message that measures need to be included in a replacement certified agreement to ensure systemic workload intensification like that experienced during the implementation of SMS does not occur.
The QTU’s EB10 log of claims includes:
- creating a workload audit including, but not limited to, addressing issues such as initiatives and proposed changes to work practice at systemic and workplace levels
- development of a joint statement on teacher workload and assessment
- safer workplaces that address gender violence and occupational violence
- time for health and safety representatives to undertake their responsibilities, including training.
A workload tool
QTU members might recall completing a workload survey last year. As a result of the work that was supported by QTU members in August 2018, the QTU was able to quantify and demonstrate the impact of workload on educators’ work-life balance. The QTU reported that our members, employed as tutors, teachers and leading vocational teachers in TAFE campuses throughout Queensland, perform up to 36.33 hours of additional work outside of duty time. The average hours of work performed outside of rostered time is 8.3 hours. There is no surprise that the most common duties that impose on educators’ out of hours time are paperwork and administrative tasks.
Notably, the QTU workload survey was conducted in August, prior to the introduction of SMS.
The QTU also knows that members delivering online programs report a high volume of student contact outside of ordinary hours of duty. Online students, whose study might allow for flexible hours, contact their tutors, teachers and LVTs in flexible hours that are outside of ordinary hours, which adversely impacts on our members’ work-life balance.
The QTU believes that a workload tool is needed to address changes to work practices at systemic or local level, as well as to address the working conditions of online educators.
A workload joint statement
Further to seeking a commitment to develop a tool to manage workload, the QTU called on TAFE Queensland to work with the QTU to develop a joint statement on teacher workload. The QTU believes that a joint statement would define the nature of work undertaken by TAFE educators and consider the various modes of program delivery, such as lectures, online teaching, and face-to-face tutorials, and would recognise the diverse contexts of programs, with consideration of student cohorts and education settings. The joint statement would recognise the core business of educators in the changing nature of work, which would include consideration of the relationship between TAFE, students, and industry partners.
A joint statement on teacher workload would recognise the consultative mechanisms enshrined in industrial agreements that exist to address workload.
In making the case for safer workplaces, the QTU presented empirical and anecdotal evidence of the need to address sexual harassment and gender violence in the workplace.
The QTU notes the Australian Human Rights Commission is currently reviewing public submissions to its recent inquiry into sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace. The AHRC survey of 10,000 Australians identified over 3000 had experienced sexual harassment at work in the years 2013-2018, but only 17 per cent made a formal complaint. The survey reported that 39 per cent of women and 26 per cent of men experienced sexual harassment in an Australian workplace in the preceding five year period.
The Law Council of Australia defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexualised behaviour that offends, humiliates or intimidates. The QTU notes that behaviours experienced by TAFE Queensland employees can include, but are not limited to, staring or leering, suggestive comments or jokes, displaying posters or screen savers, sending sexually explicit emails or text messages, unwelcome touching, stalking, indecent exposure and sexual assault. QTU members have shared stories of unwanted touching by students, intimidatory stares or gestures, misogynistic comments that degrade women and/or LGBTIQ educators and students.
The QTU strongly asserts that these behaviours are unwelcome in our members’ workplaces or any workplace.
QTU members experiencing sexual harassment and/or gender violence might not report to their employer, but some have had the courage to talk to their Union. This accords with the findings of the AHRC research that reports: “Many people are afraid to report their experiences of unwelcome sexual conduct out of fear that they won’t be believed, that it’s not worth it, that they’ll be ostracised and that it could damage their career.”
The AHRC further reported that 20 per cent of respondents to the survey who had made a complaint claimed they had been labelled troublemakers and ostracised by their employer or ignored by colleagues after making a complaint.
Health and safety representatives
The QTU presented the case for educator teams to elect health and safety representatives. The QTU believes that the diverse range of programs and settings should be reflected in the cohort of employees who are elected as health and safety representatives. The QTU understands that QTU members can be hesitant to undertake this vital role in the workplace because of the additional duties that the role can involve.
That is why the QTU believes that teams must be allocated time to ensure that workplace health and safety representatives can undertake relevant training with all costs met by the employer. Health and safety representatives should be able to consult on health and safety matters, undertake workplace inspections, review workplace incidents, attend interviews about health and safety matters, monitor compliance measures, and investigate health and safety complaints from team members during ordinary working hours.
Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union