Long-awaited changes to casual employment laws should have been a game-changer for thousands of long-term, part-time casual TAFE teachers, but they were stunningly snubbed by a NSW Government decision this week.
TAFE NSW, after six months of deliberation, advised that it was not obliged to offer permanent jobs to any of the more than 7700 part-time casual teachers in its workforce.
Last Monday was the deadline for all medium to large employers to indicate to employees whether they would offer their casual staff who have been employed for more than 12 months, conversion to permanent positions.
An email late on the day of the deadline from TAFE Managing Director Steffen Faurby to TAFE NSW part-time casual teachers cited “reasonable grounds” for the basis of the decision not to offer them permanency.
NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said part-time casual TAFE teachers, who have dedicated years of full-time service to the education of countless Australians, had a reasonable expectation of attaining less-precarious employment.
“Our members are outraged and disappointed, so many thousands of them have taught full-time teaching loads, and more, for years,” Mr Gavrielatos said.
“These teachers work alongside their permanent colleagues. They do exactly the same job, have exactly the same responsibilities, have exactly the same requirements to maintain currency and competency, yet are not afforded security of employment. This is a disgrace.”
To add insult to injury, on the same day, Skills Minister Geoff Lee announced the NSW Government is spending $1 million on the recruitment of teachers from outside the TAFE system. (Government invests in TAFE NSW teachers)
Mr Gavrielatos said Mr Lee had to come clean about the number of experienced TAFE teachers who are casual and who would now be overlooked for permanency by the new recruits.
“One would doubt these new recruits would be enticed by the prospect of casual jobs,” he said.
“Why were the long-term casuals not made offers of permanency? How many of these new positions will be ongoing permanent posts while the part-time casuals are overlooked?”