7 December 2021 | Download PDF
Latest TAFE Newsflash for QTU members
Earlier this year, CQU members will recall a video to employees in which the Vice-Chancellor called for a short bargaining period. We are now six months into bargaining for a replacement enterprise agreement, and negotiations have paused for the summer vacation period.
We recognise the engagement of members in this process, including in a recent AEU(Q)/QTU survey on programming and related matters.
The survey responses regarding workload are extremely concerning. 21 per cent of respondents stated that they are, on average, teaching in excess of 32 hours, and another 64 per cent stated that they sometimes work these excessive hours.
Asked “How many weeks per year do you teach?” more than 71 per cent of respondents stated that they teach more than 39 weeks in the year. This means that staff are either not accessing working conditions like periods of RPP, recreation leave and/or professional development, or management are not approving them.
COVID vaccination information
On 30 November, health advice from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer prompted the Queensland Government to announce a vaccine mandate for all schools, early childhood settings, correctional centres, youth detentions centres and airports.
The QTU understands that the announcement will have implications for TAFE Queensland employees delivering or supporting programs of vocational education and training in schools, as well as for employees on shared campuses.
Both the QTU and TAFE Queensland are seeking advice on the implications of the announcement for TAFE Queensland employees. At the time of writing, the details in the health directive have not been published.
The QTU’s supreme decision-making body, our Union’s State Council, which includes democratically elected members of the QTU TAFE Division, adopted our COVID vaccination position at its meeting on 28 August.
To be clear, the QTU position supports COVID vaccinations and the Union encourages all members who are able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to do so.
The QTU understands that TAFE Queensland have opened a short vaccination survey for all TAFE employees. The QTU encourages members to participate in this survey.
As we have done since the COVID pandemic began, the QTU will continue to be guided by the CHO’s health advice to government.
Knowing your TAFE working conditions on professional development and TAFE’s continuing currency points
Earlier this year, our QTU Executive members endorsed a member survey on professional development and release to industry.
More than 60 per cent of respondents identified that they were not programmed to access ten days of professional development this year, nor had they accessed ten days per annum of professional development in the past five years.
The working conditions of TAFE educators are prescribed in the TAFE Queensland Award – State 2016 and the TAFE Queensland Educators Certified Agreement 2019. Both industrial instruments are agreed to by the QTU and TAFE Queensland. They state:
Educators are: “… entitled to a minimum of 10 days' paid professional development each year to engage in continuing professional development activities relevant to their role.”
37(j) TAFE Queensland Award – State 2016
“A minimum of half a day of professional development will be taken at any one time.”
37(b) TAFE Queensland Award – State 2016
The QTU has developed Know Your TAFE Working Conditions resources that members can access on the QTU website. At a local level, we encourage you to work in teams with your branch and QTU workplace representatives or consultatively with management to build your knowledge of your working conditions and develop a local plan that ensures QTU members access their professional development working conditions.
TAFE Queensland’s continuing currency points
While some regions are engaged in discussions to operationalise TAFE Queensland’s continuing currency points (CCP) scheme, it is important that QTU members know their TAFE working conditions. Operationally, a one-hour webinar might accrue CCP, but it should not count towards your programmed professional development because it is less than a half day.
At its meeting in November, QTU TAFE Council called for a pause on further implementation of the CCP scheme pending further consultation with the QTU.
The award allows QTU members to access industrial relations education (IRE) leave, which is paid time off to acquire knowledge and competencies in industrial relations matters. A suite of relevant programs is available to members and advertised on the QuEST and QTEC portals of the QTU website.
- QTEC (https://www.qtu.asn.au/qtec) coordinates the QTU's member education and training program, including training for QTU Workplace Representatives and Know Your TAFE Working Conditions courses.
- QuEST (https://www.qtu.asn.au/quest) is the professional development arm of the QTU, facilitating face-to-face programs, online courses, and on-demand courses.
- The QTU Library (https://www.qtu.asn.au/library) also offers services to QTU members, including an extensive collection of professional support materials and legislation relevant to the education sector.
Progressing QTU policy
Since 2015, the Queensland Government has implemented measures that attempt to restore frontline services and the working conditions of Queensland’s public servants. However, because TAFE is a government-owned corporation, we all know that the benefits of the Queensland Government’s measures have not been equally shared with TAFE employees.
The result is that measures like the Queensland Public Service Directive 08/20, which guarantees temporary to permanent conversion, do not equally apply in TAFE Queensland.
Earlier this year, QTU Biennial Conference delegates voted unanimously to hold to our Union’s position in QTU Policy K which states:
“The TAFE Queensland Act 2013 (the act) established new governance models for TAFE in Queensland. The QTU acknowledges that TAFE, as the public provider, is no longer a public service entity within a government department but is run under statutory authority models.
“The QTU believes the act needs to be repealed and operational control of TAFE Queensland should be returned to the Department of Training.”
In adopting this position, the QTU recognises that the removal of operational control of TAFE from the Department of Training has resulted in the erosion of members’ working conditions. A legislative change will help restore fairness.
Rebuild with TAFE
On Sunday 5 December, the federal Labor opposition announced major education, skills and training policies that will benefit TAFE students and educators.
The QTU welcomes Anthony Albanese’s announcement, which commits a Labor government to funding 465,000 free TAFE places, providing $50 million for new facilities and equipment, and a guarantee of 70 per cent of total government funding for TAFE.
Click here for more on federal Labor’s new skills policy.
Another complex and challenging year is drawing to a close. We know that for many educators the end of the year signals a period of work intensification. Unless there are significant developments in the progress of the CQU negotiations or health alerts, this will be the last TAFE Newsflash for the year.
If you need assistance during the summer vacation, please contact our QTU Queensland Teachers’ Assist Desk which will be open until 5pm on 22 December and will reopen on 5 January.
Thank you for everything that you contribute to Queensland’s vocational education and training sector. The QTU knows that TAFE educators have well and truly earned a holiday. We wish you a safe and joyous break with loved ones.
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064