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TAFE EB10 Bulletin no.14, 21 August 2019

QTU DIRECTIVE
All members of the QTU TAFE Division,
employed by TAFE Queensland,
are hereby directed to stop work on Wednesday 28 August 2019.  

Click here to register your attendance for a meeting/rally and  for transport to and from the rally

The online ballot of QTU TAFE Division members that was conducted over the seven days following the two hour stop work meeting in July considered seven resolutions. The resolutions, which included reaffirming the result of the protected action ballot that was conducted in June and endorsing a 24 hour stoppage, were supported by 95.7% of votes cast.

Queensland government policies continue to be a barrier to achieving a replacement TAFE Educators Certified Agreement. It is not too late for the Queensland government to intervene and ensure that TAFE Queensland is adequately funded to deliver:

  •  salaries that are comparable with interstate colleagues
  • a new salary classification for education team leaders and higher education
  • improved access to permanent employment
  • processes to address gender employment equity

factors to mitigate workload.

The QTU acknowledges that EB10 negotiations are progressing on a new classification and programming measures to address workload, however the QTU continues to express dismay that there is presently no offer from the employer to address our log of claims on the matters of permanency and gender employment equity.

Further, Queensland Government wage policy condemns TAFE tutors to continue to be the lowest paid TAFE educators in Australia. The highest pay point on the TAFE Queensland educator stream is currently Lead Vocational Teacher (LVT) step 3, but every other state and territory in Australia has TAFE educator pay points beyond LVT 3. Again, Queensland Government wage policy means that from 1 July 2019, Queensland is and will remain the only jurisdiction in Australia without a TAFE educator pay point higher than $100,000. 

QTU TAFE DIVISION’S 24 HOUR STOP WORK 

QTU TAFE Division Members have voted overwhelmingly to support the 24 hour stoppage in two separate online ballots. We must now continue the united front that was established by our initial two hour stop work on 30 July to send the Queensland government a clear message: 

Queensland’s TAFE educators deserve pay parity with interstate colleagues

Queensland’s TAFE educators deserve employment security

Queensland’s TAFE educators deserve fair and reasonable workloads

Queensland’s TAFE educator workforce deserves gender employment equity

Queensland’s TAFE educator workforce should be protected by the Award. 

 The QTU directive to members of the TAFE Division complies with all of the relevant sections of the Industrial Relations Act 2016 and the QTU has provided TAFE Queensland with written notification that members will stop work for 24 hours on Wednesday, 28 August. The QTU has also written to the Director-General of the Department of Education to advise that state schools should provide alternative arrangements for all students enrolled in vocational education and training in schools classes.

Members can advise their manager in writing of their intention to stop work for 24 hours. However, there should be no obligation to arrange to make up classes that are cancelled, nor should there be any obligation to plan, prepare, or leave handover notes to non-members who might be employed to deliver classes during the 24 hour stoppage.

During the 24 hour stoppage, members should leave their workplace and not respond to emails. Suggested text for an out of office response will be sent to members for use on the day of action
 

Stop work meetings  will be held in Bundaberg, Cairns and Townsville and an EB10 Rally outside of Queensland Parliament in Brisbane. The QTU will be arranging buses travelling to Brisbane from:  Coolangatta via Varsity, Helensvale, and Beenleigh; Gympie via Eumundi, Palmview, and Caboolture; Logan via Victoria Point, Capalaba, and Chandler; and Toowoomba via Gatton, Plainlands, and Bundamba

EB10 rally outside of Parliament

All members of the QTU TAFE Division from Darling Downs and Toowoomba, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Beenleigh, Victoria Point and the Bayside are strongly encouraged to rally outside of Queensland Parliament from midday on our day of action.

Date:      Wednesday, 28 August
Time:       Assemble from 11:30am for a midday rally that will conclude at 1:00pm
Venue:    Speakers Corner,   15 George Street,    Brisbane City  (between Queensland Parliament and the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens)

Meeting details

Bundaberg Bundaberg Bowls Club, 21 Quay Street, Bundaberg
Cairns High Flyers Room, Cazaly’s, 344 Mulgrave Road, Cairns
Townsville Rydges Southbank, 23 Palmer Street, Townsville
South East Queensland All members of the QTU TAFE Division from Darling Downs and Toowoomba, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Beenleigh, Victoria Point and the Bayside are strongly encouraged to rally outside of Queensland Parliament from midday on the day of action.

Click here to register your attendance for a meeting/rally and  for transport to and from the rally

Brisbane metropolitan members, click here to register to attend the rally. To help plan your journey, click here for bus/train/citycat timetables.

Can’t make a meeting? 

QTU members can stream the online meeting live on a personal device by following the Queensland Teachers’ Union on Facebook. The QTU welcomes photos of local gatherings of QTU TAFE Division members who are teaching in regional or remote locations. Email your local photos to qtu_tafe_eb@qtu.asn.au 

The online statewide meeting will include a series of resolutions and provide instructions on how members can log on to the QTU website and vote on the resolutions.

GOOD FAITH BARGAINING CONTINUES

Protected industrial action does not limit the QTU’s continued engagement in good faith bargaining with the employer and other unions that are party to the certified agreement and TAFE Queensland Award – State 2016. The QTU is committed to our three Ps campaign – Pay, Permanency, Programming -  to improve salaries, increase access to permanent employment, and address programming measures to mitigate workload. The QTU understands that the employer is constrained by whole-of-government policy, and that the Queensland Government needs to change policy as a matter of urgency.

PROTECTED INDUSTRIAL ACTION - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why are we taking protected industrial action? 
Protected industrial action means that the 24 hour stop work complies with Queensland’s Industrial Relations Act 2016. In June, members of the QTU TAFE Division overwhelmingly voted in a Protected Action Ballot (which also complied with the Act) and supported taking a package of protected industrial action that included an initial two hour stop work before 31 July and our subsequent 24 hour stoppage, now scheduled for 28 August. We are taking action that is in accordance with the Act and the decisions of members in June that were reaffirmed in the resolutions carried in the online ballot following the initial 2 hour stop work.

Have EB10 negotiations broken down?
No. The QTU is committed to good faith bargaining guidelines and will continue to negotiate for increases in pay, improved access to permanent employment, and programming measures that mitigate workload. However, negotiations are close to exhausting the matters that can be settled unless there are changes to government policy. In its response to the QTU’s EB10 log of claims the employer repeatedly observes that the Union’s claim is not supported because it is not consistent with whole-of-government policy. 

Do I have to leave my workplace during the stop work meeting?
QTU members are directed to stop work for a period of 24 hours on Wednesday 28 August. The QTU strongly encourages members of the TAFE Division to not attend their workplace during the stop work, even if members have declared themselves to be on strike. The QTU also recommends that members streaming the online meeting from midday do so on a personal device.

What happens at a stop work meeting?
The directive to stop work for 24 hours includes a rally that will be streamed online from midday and will provide the latest information on the progress of EB10 negotiations. Members attending a meeting at Cairns, Townsville or Bundaberg will be asked to sign a register of attendance. This is a QTU document that will not be shared with the employer. The meeting will move a series of resolutions and members will be asked to vote on the resolutions. Instructions on how to vote online will be provided at the meeting and will also be emailed to members of the QTU’s TAFE Division.

Will I be paid to attend the stop work meeting?
No. A worker’s right to withdraw their labour is a fundamental freedom. The United Nations’ International Covenant on Economic (FWO), Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 requires governments to ensure that workers have the right to strike. Withdrawing labour also means not being paid for the day of action.

What happens if I cannot attend a meeting?
QTU members teaching in regional or remote locations can still participate in the stop work action. The QTU strongly recommends that members do not attend their workplace on the day of action and stream the online meeting from a personal device. 

Who will look after my classes when I stop work?
Members of the QTU TAFE Division are directed to stop work for 24 hours on 28 August. The employer has been notified of the stop work. Operational concerns such as supervision of classes is a matter for the employer. Members should not be required to make up classes or plan and prepare classes for non-members.

Will there be more industrial action?
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission has approved protected industrial action until a new agreement in certified. At its August meeting, QTU TAFE Council carried the following resolutions:

THAT QTU TAFE Division members employed by TAFE Queensland be invited to conduct ballots in self-selected workplaces on the question of additional stop work action of 2 hours or 24 hours duration on a rolling basis across the state commencing any time after the planned 24-hour stop work on Wednesday, 28 August 2019.

Why is the protected industrial action limited to TAFE Division members?
When negotiations for replacement certified agreements for both our TAFE Division members and our school teacher/school leader members, the QTU foresaw an opportunity for our 46,000 members to stand together in the fight for improved pay and conditions. However, school teachers are covered by the Teaching in State Education Award – 2016 whereas TAFE educators are covered by the TAFE Queensland Award 2016. The two separate EB negotiations have taken different paths and the opportunity for combined protected industrial action is no longer possible. School teachers are not able to take protected industrial action in support of our TAFE Division members, although school teacher branches across the state have been carrying solidarity motions, and there will be school teachers attending the rally in Brisbane, as part time employees not rostered to work on Wednesdays, joining our TAFE members as a show of solidarity. 

I’m a QTU member, what happens if I don’t stop work?
The QTU directive is to stop work for 24 hours. Members who choose to not follow the QTU directive and who are involved in an incident at work may not be covered by the QTU’s legal or industrial service if the incident occurred during the 24 hour stop work. This includes access to legal services to assist with work cover claims and investigations.

Graham Moloney
General Secretary
Craig Wood
Research Officer - Industrial Advocate

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