TAFE crisis comes to Minister’s electorate office

TAFE crisis comes to Minister’s electorate office

It’s time to come back to bargaining, was the message Federation Deputy Secretary (Post-Schools) Phill Chadwick and TAFE members had for NSW Skills and Training Minister Alister Henskens on Friday (28 October).

They rallied outside the Minister’s Ku-ring-gai electoral office in Wahroonga, to voice their dissatisfaction with his failure to engage in good faith bargaining for the new TAFE enterprise agreement since TAFE NSW’s proposed enterprise agreement was rejected by employees in August.

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said Alister Henskens was the TAFE Minister in hiding; hiding over the teacher shortage.

TAFE NSW’s salary offer failed to keep pace with cost of living pressure and provide salaries parity with school teachers and the trades and professions they teach. It also failed to address untenable workloads and job security.

Speakers used a megaphone, so people inside the electoral office and shoppers along the street clearly heard several TAFE teachers describe the crisis in the NSW TAFE system.

The shortage of teachers in our discipline is at crisis levels and the remaining teachers are being offered money well over their current salary to leave, Peter Allen said.

“Only yesterday a teacher said he was offered $150K plus a vehicle to come back on the tools. I can guarantee you Mr Henskens, this is not an isolated incident.”

TAFE Organiser Annette Bennett said TAFE teachers demand that the Minister addresses the TAFE teacher shortage crisis by offering salaries and conditions that will attract the best and brightest from industry to teach the tradies of tomorrow.

Gabi Harding said TAFE NSW had been unable to recruit enough teachers for her section and workloads were untenable.

Sharryn Usher said TAFE teachers can’t get a loan due to their casual employment status. More than 70 per cent of TAFE teachers are employed on a casual basis. Mr Gavrielatos said the cancer that is insecure work, advocated by gig economy ideologues, must stop.

TAFE TA Secretary Adam Curlis said the wage offer was insulting.

TAFE teachers to strike for 24 hours

Members in TAFE colleges have been undertaking a range of protected industrial action over the past few weeks and more is to come. On Wednesday 2 November the level of industrial action will escalate to a 24 hour strike.

A rally will be held in Mary Ann Street Park, opposite Ultimo TAFE, from 10am. Members working in institutes in the greater Sydney area, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, Wollongong and Newcastle will assemble from 9.30am for the 10am rally. The rally will be broadcast for TAFE members in other parts of the state.