TAFE award talks to be informed by member opinions

TAFE members will
be surveyed in workplaces on a range of industrial and professional issues as
Federation begins planning for the next enterprise bargaining agreement, Annual
Conference determined on Monday.

The union will also
research the impact of contestable funding on the TAFE system — including
permanent and temporary staffing levels, the loss of qualified teaching
positions, the collapse in student numbers, course cuts and existing ratios —
in preparation for the negotiations with NSW TAFE.

“The next
agreement will provide an opportunity to galvanise the TAFE teaching workforce
around a number of fundamental matters including teaching qualifications,
careers pathways, permanency, professional learning, change consultation,
staffing ratios and workload,” Annual Conference delegates declare in the TAFE

They note that
“since coming under the Fair Work Act, TAFE has suffered the worst of both
state and federal restrictions in bargaining”. “TAFE management has
demonstrated an unwillingness to take into account the increasingly complex
nature of teachers’ work when negotiating enterprise agreements and has sought
to suppress the salaries of TAFE teachers to reflect the contestable funding
model,” the TAFE resolution continues.

The Annual
Conference decision on salaries asserts: “Federation has an absolute commitment
to real growth in salaries and to protect and improve the working conditions of
all teachers.”

The current TAFE
agreement expires in February 2020.

— Kerri Carr