UPDATE 28 August 2019
Late yesterday, Tuesday 27 August, the Queensland Government met with QTU negotiators to discuss a revised salary offer.
The new offer, which will be considered by QTU TAFE members at strike meetings today and further by QTU TAFE Executive on Monday, goes some way towards resolving issues of pay for TAFE educators, including salaries that are comparable to their interstate colleagues.
Some matters remain outstanding, however, and the QTU is expecting TAFE Queensland to make a full revised offer addressing these in the coming days.
Any future action in the campaign will be determined and communicated in due course.
Further information will be made available for members at www.qtu.asn.au/eb10
From the President
27 August 2019
TAFE Queensland teachers to stop work
Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) members employed by TAFE Queensland will stop work for 24-hours on Wednesday 28 August 2019 in their ongoing dispute with the Queensland Government over negotiations for a new enterprise bargaining agreement.
The current agreement expired on 30 June 2019 and the 24-hour stop-work comes after TAFE teachers and tutors held a two-hour stop-work on 30 July.
Negotiations for a new agreement commenced in March 2019 and progress has been made around the claims of the QTU, Together Queensland (the two unions share coverage of TAFE Queensland education staff) and TAFE Queensland. However, two key matters from the joint union claims remain unresolved:
- salaries comparable with TAFE teachers and tutors interstate
- measures to address gender employment inequity.
Salaries for TAFE tutors in Queensland range from $52k to $60k, while most other states start at $61k and go as high as $76k. TAFE teacher salaries in Queensland remain under $100k, while interstate colleagues extend up to a maximum of $145k in Tasmania, $120k in New South Wales and $113k in Victoria.
Another consideration is that Queensland school teachers will now have a maximum classroom salary of $110,500 from 2021 if the new enterprise bargaining agreement struck is approved by Education Department employees.
Government policies on 100 per cent contestable funding for TAFE and state wages policy constrain TAFE Queensland and are preventing agreement being reached on these issues.
State government wages policy restricts wage rises in the public sector to 2.5 per cent per annum. This limit will not allow the goal of comparability with interstate teachers and tutors to be achieved.
TAFE funding policy has maintained the 100 per cent contestable setting of the previous LNP state government, which has seen TAFE drop to a 35 per cent market share in vocational education and training, down from a high of more than 70 per cent more than a decade ago. Every other state and territory has abandoned similar funding policies, and TAFE market share, and subsequent income, have rebounded dramatically. The QTU has been calling on the state government to direct 70 per cent of the funding allocated to vocational education and training directly to restore TAFE to its position as the preeminent provider of training in Queensland.
We need the government to step in and change those policies if we are to negotiate our way to a new agreement.
Measures to address gender employment inequity
The Queensland Government recently reached in-principle agreement with teachers and principals in schools on measures to address gender employment inequity, and TAFE teachers and tutors deserve no less.
Women are over-represented in precarious employment and part-time employment, which has a career-long impact on their earnings and retirement savings. Almost 71 per cent of casual TAFE Queensland educators are women, as are 56.4 per cent of temporary employees. 55.2 per cent of permanent TAFE Queensland educators are men.
The Queensland Government has briefed public sector unions on nation-leading policy on this issue, and TAFE teachers and tutors must receive the benefits, including:
- annual progression through the salary scale regardless of fraction worked
- shared access by both parents to parental leave entitlements.
QTU members expect to be joined by Together Queensland teacher and tutor members in the stop-work action.
Union members who stop work will be seeking meetings with local state members of Parliament and attending a meeting in Brisbane commencing at 12 noon at Speakers Corner outside Queensland Parliament and concurrent meetings in Bundaberg, Townsville and Cairns.
Union members at the stop-work meetings will make decisions on what action to take following the 24-hour stoppage if policy is not changed to facilitate a new offer from TAFE Queensland that delivers on the key expectations of TAFE educator union members.
TAFE Queensland has provided the training Queenslanders can trust for more than 135 years. TAFE teachers and tutors deserve to be supported for the work they do building stronger Queensland communities.