20 April 2021 | DOWNLOAD PDF
At the beginning of April, the AEU(Q)/QTU shared its log of claims with the university and the other parties to the Central Queensland University Enterprise Agreement 2017 to commence bargaining in good faith. The agreement nominally expires on 30 June.
As was stated in CQU Newsflash email #1, the Log of claims is important because when all the parties provide their logs, they set the agenda for the negotiations. Whether they are claims for improved pay or conditions lodged by a union on behalf of workers or an employer’s call for increased efficiencies or trade-offs for pay increases, the log of claims will define the matters that will be addressed in the negotiation.
Generally, where there is agreement on a need or measure, that will be dealt with first and the areas of greatest disagreement will be dealt with last. Just because an item is in a log of claims, doesn’t mean it will be included in the final negotiated outcome. Some items may be discussed without agreement being reached.
The QTU log
The QTU log is substantively based on matters that members employed by CQU in VET contributed through an eight-month process in branches and workplaces across Central Queensland University. Others have arisen from AEU(Q)/QTU policy. That policy is set every two years at the QTU Biennial Conference. It is important to understand how the Union arrived at the log that has been presented. The AEU(Q)/QTU aims to be the most democratic and representative voice of the teaching profession in Queensland on industrial and professional matters, and members have been at the centre of developing and approving the log.
CQU EB 21 P3 campaign
As stated above, many of the claims outline the aspirations of rank and file members on the ground, while others flow from AEU(Q)/QTU policy, for instance the matters regarding gender equity. The claims fall into three broad categories:
For brevity, we are referring to these as P3, and to a large extent there is overlap between how the claims fit into these three Ps.
The intentions which lie behind these categories go to the aspirations of the members of the AEU(Q)/QTU as employees of CQU and as proud vocational practitioners and professional educators.
Vocational educators have dual identities. In part this is based on their identification as practitioner of the trade or business that they have been engaged in, often for decades. The other part is formed by the willingness to share their accumulated knowledge and skills in an educational setting. This is most often based on a desire to give back, to set up the next generation with everything that can be provided to ensure success.
From both aspects of identity comes a commitment to excellence in teaching and learning which can be summed up as professionalism.
CQU VET educators, indeed educators throughout the vast TAFE network, wish to both advance and secure that professionalism. It is essential to maintain currency of practice and competence in both the vocational and the professional aspects of the job. It is of such import that it is mandated under national regulation and this forms the basis of a number of claims within the AEU(Q)/QTU log, including a call for a structured program of supported study for the next generation of vocational educators.
An important aspect of being professional in any field of employment is the exercise of professional judgement. A truly professional employee is able to work independently and set their own priorities, but also to contribute meaningfully to collective needs within the team environment. The delivery of VET is an endeavour that requires team work on a daily basis in its every aspect, from development of cohesive delivery plans that meet industry and student needs, to collaborative approaches to solving student learning or behavioural issues. The team and the collective knowledge that can be brought to bear are essential in achieving the aim of producing capable and industry-ready graduates. In dealing with apprentices and trainees, that concept of team is expanded to include the employer or group training provider. No matter which field, the broader industry is always there setting the expected standards. Very few individuals have the breadth of knowledge and practice required to cover any single vocational field.
The professional opinion and judgement of the VET educator within their fields of vocation and in education must be respected and protected in terms of their working conditions, to ensure their voice, to encourage their professional development and growth and to reinforce their professional standing in their industry and learning communities.
There are a number of aspects to parity. Included are matters which refer to gender equity. As an organisation, the AEU(Q)/QTU is committed to supporting social and human rights issues. The provision of working conditions which seek to remove disadvantage is key to this.
Additionally, there is the matter of seeking parity with the rest of the public provider. In order to attract the best and retain those staff, it is essential to be competitive in terms of salary and conditions.
The QTU also seeks to implement measures that are concrete steps along the path to reconciliation.
There are claims included in the log to restore the voice of the educator and the team in the programming process. This includes a streamlined process for the resolution of professional disagreements regarding the yearly programme.
To some extent this category draws on the professionalism claims, but the issue of staff engagement in the organisation of work is part of a modern workplace, particularly one in which change is an everyday feature of the workers’ experience.
In order to restore some balance to other aspects of working conditions, the Union also seeks to clarify matters pertaining to travel. Given the decentralised footprint that CQU has, travel is an inevitable component of working in the organisation. The conditions which apply to travel must be fair and provide for work-life balance and appropriate remuneration.
While not a comprehensive breakdown of the log of claims, the material above does provide some of the thinking of the union and the members on the ground. If you have any questions regarding the log or any matters included in this Newsflash, please do not hesitate to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I have a say in the bargaining process?
Every employee gets to vote on whether the final offer is accepted, through an employer ballot of all staff. This is federal law. You get to say if you like it or you don’t, simply by being an employee.
But if you want a voice in the negotiations, you need to be a part of a union or appoint a bargaining agent.
The unions who are party to the agreement will provide negotiators on behalf of their members as a part of the process.
Joining your Union will ensure that your voice is heard. While the AEU(Q)/QTU only represents vocational educators in this negotiation, it is important that everybody has the opportunity to contribute to the discussion that is going to take place over the next few months.
So, join your Union to ensure your voice is heard.
You can find the union parties to the agreement at Clause 2.1 Coverage in the enterprise agreement.
If you are a vocational educator, you can join the AEU(Q)/QTU online or call our membership team on 07 3512 9000.
Strengthening publicly provided vocational education
CQU is a part of the great heritage of TAFE in this country: it’s the inheritor of the values of accessible and quality public provision. AEU(Q)/QTU is proud to support both TAFE Queensland and CQUniversity as the public providers of vocational education in this state.
CQU is TAFE. The Australian Education Union recently launched a new national campaign in support of publicly provided vocational education through the TAFE network. With hundreds of campuses all around the country, TAFE can help Australia rebuild in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, TAFE is perfectly positioned to provide skills, jobs, purpose and opportunities to millions more Australians, and help to create a positive future for all of us. But TAFE has suffered government funding cuts – so while right now is the time Australia needs TAFE more than ever before, it's also the time TAFE needs funding more than ever before.
Will you add your voice and ask the government to invest in a positive future for all of us? #rebuildwithTAFE
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064