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Conference points spotlight on threat to TAFE

As the TAFE 4 All campaign against the Government’s skills reforms kicks up a gear, this year’s AEU conference will put the focus on the need to widen access.

Gillian Robertson vice president, TAFE and adult provision


EMBERS are urged to register quickly for a special event for TAFE teachers and senior educators — the AEU TAFE 4 All conference. The conference will be a cornerstone of the TAFE 4 All campaign, which kicks off again this month with a union roadshow at regional TAFE institutes — particularly those in marginal seats — and the relaunch of our website, Speakers at the conference include Julius Roe, federal president of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Bendigo Secondary College principal Dale Pearce, and Lauren Johanssen, Victorian Vocational Student of the Year 2008. Each will have a unique perspective on the impact these reforms are having on students, institutes and industry. The morning session will bring into sharp focus delegates’ knowledge and understanding of the Brumby Government’s Skills Reform policy. Speakers will concentrate on the impact of the policy on us as teachers in the public TAFE system, on our students and on TAFE institutes’ ability to survive. July 1 saw the reforms come into effect and they are already starting to bite, as articles in The Age revealed as students returned from term break. Fees for RMIT’s respected professional writing course have gone up from around $800 to $8000 for anyone who already has a degree or diploma. The program’s viability is said to be threatened. You can read the full articles at and The conference follows our travelling roadshow of TAFE and secondary school campuses and the

release of a public poll to the media and general public about what is happening to the Victorian TAFE system. Make no mistake, this policy will challenge the viability of TAFEs and threaten ordinary Victorians’ ability to access quality TAFE provision. Furthermore, and to put it bluntly, this policy threatens TAFE teaching jobs now and in future. The afternoon session of the conference will give members the opportunity to learn what has changed in the new TAFE multi-business agreement, and importantly, how to benefit from this agreement. Learn how superannuation and salary sacrifice work, how to protect yourself from overwork (yes, it can be

done!), how to achieve better job security and more. Our new publication, TAFE A-Z, a plain English guide to the new TAFE agreement, will be launched on the day. Every delegate will receive a copy. And, at 3pm, Catherine Deveny, The Age columnist and comedian, will conduct a “plenary session” over drinks and nibbles. We guarantee you will leave the conference with a smile on your face! All this at the magnificent Olympic Room at the MCG. Whether you’re a cricket or footy tragic or not, this venue is very special. A delicious morning tea and lunch will be provided. Places are genuinely limited and we’d hate anyone to miss out. See the back page for registration details. ◆

New pay rates reach pockets T

HE AEU is delighted that TAFE teachers are now receiving higher pay rates as an outcome of our agreement campaign. We all fought hard and hopefully you are now enjoying some of the rewards. The first pay rise for contract and permanent teachers was 6.5%, backdated to last October 1 — most of you will have received this in June. T5 classification: A further pay increase has been delivered through the new T5 classification, which came into effect on July 1. Teachers who have been classified T4.2 for at least 12 months and ASTs will have automatically translated to T5. If you have been on T4.2 for less than 12 months, you will increment to T5 on your usual increment date (ie after 12 months at T4.2). Back pay: To receive back pay, you must have been employed and on the institute’s payroll system when the new TAFE Agreement came into force

on June 17. You will be then be entitled to receive back pay to October 1, 2008, or to the date you commenced employment if you were employed since then. Teachers are also entitled to receive back pay on any excess hours they have worked since October 1, 2008. Sessional pay: All sessional teachers received a pay rise of 6.5% from May 29, the date the agreement was lodged. Sessional teachers who have the appropriate teacher training diploma received a further pay rise of 3.92% from July 1. You can find the new pay scales at www.aeuvic. If you have any questions about pay, qualifications and classification, you can contact the AEU on (03) 9417 2822 or your sub-branch representative. ◆ — Gillian Robertson

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 : u v i c . a s n . a u

Country students bear the brunt

Students in Victoria’s regions will be among the hardest hit by the Brumby Government’s skills reforms, and their access to education and training much reduced. Jo Fogarty University of Ballarat TAFE


he University of Ballarat is a multi-sector organisation, providing education and training throughout central and western Victoria. The Brumby Government’s skills reform package will seriously challenge UB TAFE operations and deny many students the right to education and training. Contestability will be a major challenge for UB as around 45% of TAFE students study at Certificate IV and above. In a regional area where there are a number of private registered training organisations (RTOs) and particular industry markets and geographic considerations, it will be difficult to maintain the class sizes needed to ensure viability. Tough choices will have to be made about what is offered and it is naïve to think redundancies will not be on the agenda. This year at UB, around 1,500 students are enrolled in courses at the same level or below their current qualification. They take these courses to add a special set of skills so they can meet work demands or enhance employability. As of July 1, they are no longer eligible for a government funded place and face fees of around $5000 or more. John Brumby wants people to enrol in courses at a higher level to “skill up” Victoria. How many of these students will be able to pay the outrageous hike in fees? The reforms are based on the assumption that people with diplomas or degrees earn enough to be able to pay. But we all know that a diploma or degree is no guarantee of income. In these economically repressed times, tough choices have to made about how we spend our money and if the choice is food, rent, mortgage and other bills, $5000 for a course will not even be considered. Further, in a rural area, where employment opportunities can be limited or

industry-driven, people who cannot afford to undertake training will be greatly disadvantaged. The Brumby government has the solution for this: VET Fee Help — a student loan. If students are already suffering from economic problems, the likelihood of taking out a loan to undertake their studies is remote. At UB TAFE, around half of all enrolments are concession dependent, whatever the qualification level. But as of July 1, concessions are no longer available to a whole cohort of students who are studying at diploma level. It does not take rocket science to figure what that means for enrolments and “up-skilling”. Our remaining concession dependent students are not safe either, as there is no guarantee that conces-

sions for anyone will exist after 2010. The result is that about half of our enrolments will be affected. What does this mean for UB TAFE and what does it mean for our regional community? The skills reforms have created more barriers to delivering and accessing education and training than already existed. The people in Victoria’s central and western regions will be the losers and their “future economic prosperity” will not be secured. TAFE is a public provider and access and equity by the community to TAFE is essential. These reforms are not about improving VET or “securing our future economic prosperity”. They are about privatising public education and training, cutting costs and making the user pay. ◆

Vale Tony Fishwick O

n June 2, Tony Fishwick, the AEU sub-branch president at Sunraysia Institute was killed in a car accident. In 2008 Sunraysia sub-branch was in need of rejuvenation. Many loyal members were asked to step up and declined; Tony had been at Sunraysia for just over two years, but after a few questions about duties and with some encouragement from his colleague and friend Steve Lay, he became our new president. It was exciting to see him grow in the position. His enthusiasm was infectious and it was clear to see that he was dedicated to the position. He would often say, “I will go and see the human

resource manager Anthony about that” instead of the more formal procedure of emailing. You would hold your breath waiting for the outcome; somehow Tony would manage to come away with an acceptable result. His manner was not confrontational but honest and sincere, and people appreciated that. Tony had an easy nature and people would often stop me and make comments such as “I asked Tony to explain how the new agreement will affect me and now I understand! He is good isn’t he?” Tony led through commitment and example. Anyone could see he was on a road to somewhere and we were happy to go along with the ride. Unfortunately, that ride was far too short. We are all still coming to terms with his end and we all wish Tony’s partner Kim and his family our heartfelt condolences. ◆ — Nola Blance Sunraysia TAFE sub-branch


RV will hold retirement seminars at the AEU Building on the following dates: Saturday 15 August at 10am; Tuesday 22 September at 10am (Holidays); Tuesday 29 September at 10am (Holidays) Bookings: Call Rhonda Webley on (03) 9418 4844.


Access to social security entitlements, including part pensions and concession cards, can make a real difference to retirement planning. Our clients are often surprised to find how a comprehensive, personal plan delivers significant benefits.


TAFE newsletter | july 2009

No licence for longer hours

The new TAFE Agreement does not give managers carte blanche to force you to take on extra teaching loads. Industrial officer David Colley outlines your rights and protections.


tate Government approval for the new TAFE Agreement required productivity improvements for any salary rises above 3.25% pa. Together with the changed hours for casual teaching, the new allocation of hours and excess teaching duty hours provisions were the key elements in achieving this. If TAFE teachers are to maintain some degree of control over their already excessive workload, it is important that they know these provisions and are supported against over-zealous managers who could turn the agreement’s “flexibilities” into a runaway train wreck of teaching conditions. The agreement can be found at www.aeuvic. The key provisions are at clause 16.3 (Allocation of Hours) and clause 19.6 (Excess Teaching Duty Hours).

Excess teaching duty hours Again, this clause maintains the requirement to request, consult and win agreement from the teacher, with the same “not unreasonably refuse” proviso. It also adds criteria to help determine whether both the employer’s request and any refusal are unreasonable. They include: the notice provided, payment, risks to health and safety, personal circumstances, workplace needs, usual work patterns, and the role and responsibilities of the teacher.

Allocation of hours Clause 16 continues the formulation of previous agreements and awards. If a manager wants to allocate more than 21 teaching hours or 26 hours of scheduled duties (both defined in clause 7) per week, they must consult with and get the agreement of the teacher concerned. Even with agreement, the average of 21/26 per week over a semester cannot be exceeded. The key change in the 2009 agreement is this new proviso: “… providing that a teacher shall not unreasonably refuse the Employer’s request …” So there has to be: (1) a request, (2) consultation and (3) agreement from the teacher. There cannot be a command, directive or instruction from the manager that the teacher will work more than the 21/26 per week. Consultation itself is defined at clause 7(4) to refer to providing the opportunity and information in sufficient time and in a form to enable teachers a bona fide opportunity to influence the institute before it makes a decision.

Q. Who was eligible to move to T5 on July 1? A. All teachers who had been on T4.2 for 12 months or longer. Q. What if I reached T4.2 without being fully teacher qualified? A. Irrespective of your qualifications, if you have been on T4.2 for 12 months you should have gone to T5 on July 1. Q. What if I have not done 12 months on T4.2? A. As soon as you complete 12 months on T4.2 you move to T5. Q. What has changed for sessional teachers? A. This agreement continues and increases the payments for both teaching and non-teaching hours and also changes pay levels by having two different hourly rates, dependent on teaching qualifications. Fully teacher qualified sessional teachers receive higher pay. Q. Has the 320 hours limit on casual work changed? A. Yes, the cap has now been lifted to 720 hours per year, and sessionals who do 400 hours or more in a year are now eligible to apply for conversion to fixed term or ongoing employment.

In summary The new provisions are no licence for institute managers to exercise employer prerogative and unilaterally direct the workload of teaching staff. The enterprise agreement requires that there be requests, consultation, agreement and consideration of a wide range of criteria. Failure to ensure compliance with these requirements will place the institute at risk of breaching the agreement. ◆

TAFE Agreement

Your questions answered Q. What are my rights to conversion? A. You must have taught 400 hours within a 12 month period or any amount of hours for the preceding 24 months on a regular basis and in a similar or identical position to be eligible for conversion. The employer should inform you of your right to conversion on appointment. Q. When can I start counting my 400 hours from? A. From 17 June 2009, which is the date the agreement became legally enforceable. Q. Can the employer deny me conversion to fixed term or ongoing employment? A. The employer cannot unreasonably refuse and the reasons for refusal must be given in writing. The grounds for refusal include: • The applicant was recently a student on the course • Being a genuine retiree • There is less than 26 weeks’ work to be done • Applicant has a primary occupation elsewhere • The work is ad hoc, intermittent or unpredictable.◆ — Andrew Ferguson AEU organiser

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AEU TAFE conference 2009 Friday August 21

9am - 4pm MCG Olympic Room

Morning tea and lunch will be provided

A day of speakers and workshops on the future of TAFE in Victoria How Brumby’s skills reforms will hit students, staff and institutes

Launch of TAFE A–Z Guide

Everything you need to know about your working terms and conditions in one handy book

Workshops on the new TAFE Agreement

Plus drinks with columnist and comedian Catherine Deveny Booking essential— contact

●FREE TO AEU MEMBERS ●REGISTER NOW! ●CLOSING DATE: August 7 NAME:________________________________________________________________________________________________________ INSTITUTE:_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ EMAIL ADDRESS:_________________________________________________________________________________________________ PHONE:_______________________________________________________________________________________________________ SEND YOUR REGISTRATION TO:


TAFE newsletter | july 2009

TAFE Sector Newsletter, Term 3, 2009  

AEU Victorian Branch TAFE sector newsletter - Term 3, 2009. 4pp A4.

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