TAFE NEWSLETTER SUPPLEMENT TO THE AEU NEWS •MAY 2009
Setting the agenda A workplace ballot should be the final hurdle for our new agreement — but beyond that, a bigger battle looms over Victoria’s TAFE reforms. Gillian Robertson vice president, TAFE and adult provision
HE next few months are going to be incredibly busy for the union in the TAFE sector. We have an agreement to ratify and implement, a new campaign to fight on the skills reforms, and our annual TAFE conference in August. The TAFE Agreement is still with the Workplace Authority in what is called the pre-lodgement phase. What does this mean? During pre-lodgement, every aspect of the proposed agreement is looked at to ensure the content does not offend WorkChoices legislation and, because it is a multi-business agreement, that it is made in the public interest. This phase of the process is extremely important because once the formal ballot has been undertaken, we don’t want any legal or policy hiccups. We need the Workplace Authority to be confident that it can approve the agreement as soon as possible after employees vote — and to approve it quickly so your back pay and new salaries can be reflected in your pay packet. The AEU can report to members that questions from the authority have been put to the employers’ representative, the Victorian TAFE Association, whose responses have been received and considered. As far as we can tell, there are no significant outstanding problems with the content of the agreement. We are hopeful that by the time you receive this newsletter, arrangements at your institute for the employee ballot will be well advanced. Your agreement, your vote It is crucial that all employees covered by this agreement vote, so please encourage your colleagues to vote — and to vote YES. Overleaf you’ll find an article by Gordon TAFE teacher and senior educator Mark Hyde about some of the reasons why this agreement is good for TAFE teachers. The economic and political environment is obviously very different from the one we were negotiating in throughout last year. Redundancies, predicted financial deficits, an imminent reduction in the State Government’s salary framework (from 3.25% down to 2.5%) plus the economic cost to the Government of the Victorian bushfires would make it very difficult, if not impossible, to win what we have achieved in this agreement if we were starting again now. So please, do not leave it to others to vote on your behalf.
Agreement workshops No matter what a union negotiates on paper, it is the implementation that matters. The AEU has already begun holding workshops for sub-branch executives and activists on putting the agreement into practice. Andrew Ferguson, one of our TAFE organisers, writes on page 3 about the new TAFE A–Z which will give members a plain English guide to all aspects of the agreement. The union will also deliver one-hour information sessions about the agreement on campuses later this term. Your sub-branch will advertise where and when they will be held at your institute. TAFE 4 All — the next battle The State Government’s skills reform policy will come into effect for diplomas and advanced diplomas on July 1. The AEU will be ramping up its TAFE 4 All campaign this term and it is our intention to continue this campaign until the politicians hear what we have to say and do something about it. Go to tafe4all.org.au for more details. It is totally outrageous for this Labor government to take a why-give-it-whenyou-can-sell-it approach. A TAFE education is the right of Victorian people, as it has been for over 100 years. It should be available to all people no matter what their financial position is. TAFE institutes need to be properly funded so they can deliver vocational education to any and every person who wants to enrol. AEU TAFE Conference — Friday August 21 All this and more will be under the spotlight at our AEU TAFE Conference at the MCG’s Olympic Room on August 21. The main focus will be on the skills reforms and our tafe 4 All campaign. We also plan to run interactive workshops on your working terms and conditions. The back page of this newsletter gives an outline of the day. The conference will be fully catered and is free to TAFE members. I cannot emphasise enough the need to register early because there genuinely are limited places. The speakers will be engaging, the workshops will be very useful to you, and of course the venue is nothing short of spectacular — whether you are a footy fan or not! We hope to see members from every institute there on the day, and remember, it’s free to members! ◆
A E U h e a d o f f i c e 112 Trenerr y Crescent, Abbotsford 3067 Tel: 03 9417 2822 Fax : 1300 658 078 Web : www.ae u v i c . a s n . a u
Why you should VOTE YES When the employee ballot is held in your workplace, there is only one sensible way to vote. Mark Hyde Gordon TAFE
HY vote yes for this agreement? At a time of rapidly declining government budgets, this is the agreement many other workers and unions negotiating their new agreements would now love to have. The time spent out on the grass rallying, lobbying and negotiating over the past 18 months has delivered substantial improvements in our pay and conditions, long service leave, salary packaging options, increase in family leave — and back pay to last October 1. This hard fought-for agreement delivers immediate pay rises of between 17% and 26.1%, and adds up to increases across the agreement’s life of between 20.7% and 45.1% for all teachers. That means teachers at the top level will be earning about $17,000 pa more in two and a half years
than we do now. We have a new classification of T5 for teachers which will be introduced in July. Teachers who have been at the top of the scale for years with nowhere to go will now have a further increment. Everyone who has been at T4.2 for 12 months or more will be automatically incremented to this scale. Importantly, we now have in place a system where casual teachers can earn a basic living wage
at a single TAFE. Casual teachers will have the capacity to teach up to 720 hours in one institute and gain recognition of their casual service under the classification structure. This means that after 12 months’ service, a casual teacher can apply to be converted to a contract after 400 or more hours of teaching in that time. And best of all, an employer cannot unreasonably refuse an application for conversion to a contract or permanent employment. All this has been achieved while maintaining our basic conditions of 21 hours of teaching duties, 30 hours’ weekly attendance and a 42-week attendance year. It’s quite simple — vote YES to have the agreement that we fought hard for, that we sacrificed pay for, and most of all that we deserve. ◆
Rally for paid maternity leave
ictorian Trades Hall Women’s Committee will hold a rally of all unions at Lindsay Tanner MP’s office in Melbourne on May 6. (Please note, Trades Hall and the AEU are not asking members to take stop work action for this event.) The event will urge the Labor Government to honour its promises and include paid maternity leave in its federal budget on May 12. Lindsay Tanner is Finance Minister in the Rudd Cabinet. The rally at 10am will deliver campaign postcards pressing the case for Australia to fall in line with the rest of the world. Only Australia and the US in the OECD do not have some form of PML. Trades Hall women’s officer Jennifer O’Donnell-Pirisi has invited AEU members who are not working and are able to attend to join in sending a clear message that unions want paid maternity leave included in the 2009 budget. Please bring your flags and voices! For more information call (03) 9659 3511 or email jo’email@example.com. Where: 280 King St Melbourne (corner of King St and Lt Lonsdale St) When: May 6 at 10am ◆
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TAFE newsletter | may 2009
TAFE changes will bite Victorians Thinking of changing career? Under Brumby’s skills reforms, it’s a case of dig deep — very deep — or forget it. Rob Stewart deputy vice president TAFE and adult provision
he State Government’s much heralded changes to the Victorian TAFE system are about to hit Victoria’s student population at a time when job security and individual financial pressures may stop many taking up a TAFE course. The removal of the $55 concession fee and the increase for government-funded places from $877 to $1,500 from July 1 will mean the end of the TAFE option for many young people and for those who might consider retraining to meet the changing job market. But the sting in the tail for many will be the discovery that they no longer qualify even for a government-funded place as they already have a qualification at a higher level than the one they intend to pursue. This applies in particular to career-changers — such as the students who find that their generalist arts degree has limited their job options and who take a lower-level vocational qualification to improve their chance of work. These students will now pay the full fee rate of about $10,000 per qualification — with the prospect of another HECS-like loan on top of their existing HECS to pay off. This may result in two debts to pay as these young Victorians attempt to negotiate the changed employment situation in our state. The State Government believes its policy will not
deter prospective students who will simply value the opportunity. What the government bureaucrats fail to see is that the world has changed since this policy was developed — and that at the time the research was considered flawed by education experts even within the government department responsible. The penny is only now dropping with the public. Recently, AEU TAFE vice president Gillian Robertson was interviewed by Derryn Hinch on radio station 3AW on the subject of the reforms. Not only was Hinch surprised by the news that the State Government was shifting the cost of TAFE onto students — listeners phoning in were also shocked and outraged. The Government is doing no more than shifting the cost of a TAFE education from the state to the individual, and promoting its reforms with a confusing campaign which leaves so much out about the conditions under which the new charges will apply. That is why the AEU opposes these reforms. We believe that TAFE should be accessible to all Victorians. The union will place the skills reform policy front and centre at our TAFE Annual Conference in August and expand our campaigning to include media and other communications to expose this flawed and very damaging policy. For more, see our campaign site tafe4all.org.au. ◆
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TAFE A-Z T
AFE members will receive a new AEU publication once the TAFE multi-business agreement comes into operation later this term. Based on the new agreement and the continuing award provisions within it, we will be producing a new user’s guide to your salaries, conditions and entitlements. The TAFE A-Z will contain readable one-page factsheets on a wide range of topics, from pay to consultation to working hours, and should greatly improve compliance with the industrial agreements between AEU members and management by informing both sides of the details of those agreements. For too long, inaccurate interpretations of entitlements and conditions have led to abuse of employees. Hopefully this initative will prevent mischievous managers and uninformed members from continuing to deny correct working conditions for AEU members. What’s in the A–Z? Accident make-up pay Annual leave Attendance time Consultation Dispute resolution Excess hours Expenses Hours of work Institute consultative committees Long service leave Overseas work Parental leave Performance appraisal Public holidays Qualifications Recruitment Redundancy Securing employment Salaries Scheduled/non scheduled duties Workplans … and much more ◆
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AEU TAFE CONFERENCE 2009 Friday August 21 9am – 4pm MCG Olympic Room
A day of speakers and workshops on the future of TAFE in Victoria — plus a focus on the new TAFE Agreement ➠ Skills reforms — why we believe in TAFE for all ➠ Contestability — what it means for you and your students ➠ Know your Agreement — how to get the most out of it ➠ Casual conversion — how to win greater job security ➠ New rules on superannuation — how salary sacrifice works for you ➠
Drinks with CATHERINE DEVENY at the end of the day Booking essential — contact Ann Dettenberg Ann.Dettenberg@aeuvic.asn.au (03) 9418 4891
Free to AEU members Morning tea, lunch and drinks/nibbles at end of day included.
Register now ! NAME: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ INSTITUTE: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ EMAIL ADDRESS: __________________________________________________________________________________________________ PhONE: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Send your registration to: firstname.lastname@example.org 4
TAFE newsletter | may 2009