A fair wage increase for TAFE services staff

Posted on August 28, 2019

TAFE Queensland is continuing to push the government's current wages policy of a 2.5% pay rise on the current agreement's rates of pay.

The government wages policy will not give all workers under the TAFE Services Agreement a 2.5% increase!

Your current agreement says that you can't be paid less than the award rate, and since September 2018 the award rate has been higher than the agreement. The government says that a 2.5% increase is to be applied against your old EB schedule rate, and not your current rate of pay. Under that interpretation of the wages policy many TAFE Services members on some classifications (e.g. AO2.1 – AO3.4) will receive less than 2.5% in the first year compared to your current rate of pay. This is the same issue that has meant that members in Child Safety, Education and other government departments have chosen to go to arbitration and have the Industrial Commission set their wages and conditions.

 You can see the difference between the government offer, the award rate and the agreement rate here. 

Talking wage increases alone will not resolve many of the issues you have raised in your log of claims. On several occasions Together officials and delegates have requested a full response from TAFE Queensland to your claims. To date no response has been provided by TAFE Queensland making it near impossible for delegates to provide you with a meaningful update or to advise you.

Your delegates have been working hard to create a workload toolkit to address the number one issue that was identified through surveys and discussions with you and put to TAFE in your log of claims. On 13 August the first draft of the toolkit was supplied to TAFE Queensland for comment and feedback. You can check it out here and provide feedback to tafe@together.org.au or through your delegates.

Your agreement (the TAFE Queensland Service Agreement) expires on 31 August 2019. As a result, from 1 September 2019 union members will be able to decide whether or not greater action is required to force TAFE Queensland to listen and respond. This is considered protected industrial action. Here's a factsheet that explains protected industrial action.

It takes a strong union to influence big decision makers like TAFE Queensland. A strong union is when the majority of workers are union members and are prepared to take action when necessary. 

Just this week we saw what a good collective action campaign can accomplish. Your Educator colleagues were pushing TAFE to deliver a fairer outcome, but management refused to listen - until union members announced they would go on strike for 24 hours. The response from management was a significantly improved offer.

Union collective action works - but only if everyone gets involved! So please get involved in the campaign for a better TAFE Services agreement!

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