By Peter de Graaff
St George TAFE Teachers join deputation to Jan McClelland on budget cuts
Around ten teachers from St George TAFE College joined Linda Simon, TAFETA Secretary, and Peter de Graaff, TAFE Organiser, on a deputation to see the Director-General to express their concern at the impact of the current round of course cuts at their campus.
Earlier in the day teachers had resolved at a well attended branch meeting that members from the college would join the deputation, and that if a satisfactory response to their concerns was addressed then local industrial action would be considered.
The cuts at St George will impact on courses in auto body repair, automotive, electrical engineering, pre-vocational, welfare, languages and ABE.
In 2004 the HSC will no longer be offered at St George, and the current 25 ongoing students have been told they can travel instead to either Gymea or Ultimo. In 2003, 42 students sat for the HSC at the campus.
As a result of these cuts teachers who were previously fully programmed, will now become under-programmed, and may have to seek teaching programs at other colleges. Many part-time casual teachers believe they will be unemployed in 2004 due to the impact of these course cuts.
Teachers at St George have been advised that these cuts arise from TAFE Institutes having their budgets cut. They were further advised that the Government refuses to fund 6% of the salary increase to administrative and stores positions. This was repeated to the St George TAFE teachers by the Deputy Director General TAFE Robin Shreeve in the presence of Jan McClelland. This has also been communicated in writing to the Federation by the Minister Andrew Refshauge.
In June 2002 teachers at St George TAFE along with other teachers in Southern Sydney Institute went on strike after being told that there would be course cuts to fund their salary increases. The former Minister John Watkins subsequently wrote to the Federation on June 12, 2002 and said; "Let me state it plainly. Teachers are not being asked - and will not be asked - to fund their own salary increases."
TAFE teachers believe it is unconscionable that the Carr Government is asking them to fund salary increases through cuts to courses and the loss of jobs to part-time casual teachers.