TAFE award gains assent

TAFE teachers have secured salary increases of 2.5 per cent each year for three years with no cuts to working conditions for TAFE teachers and related employees.

Federation urged TAFE members to vote “Yes” in a digital ballot, that is required by federal Fair Work legislation, to accept the terms of settlement negotiated between Federation and TAFE NSW, and 92 per cent of voters endorsed the proposed enterprise agreement.

The agreement provides 2.5 per cent from the first pay period on or after November 24, 2016 and an increase 12 months later of 2.5 per cent in 2017, with a further 2.5 per cent increase in 2018.

The settlement includes:

  • no change to current teaching hours
  • confirmation in writing from TAFE that the existing administrative arrangements will continue for the life of the agreement (this allows TAFE teachers to continue to work off-site for five hours)
  • no change to related duties for part time casual teachers
  • the implementation of the three trial roles (Head Teacher Band 3, Assessor and Educational Support Officer) as classifications in the enterprise agreement
  • the establishment of a joint working party to develop a comprehensive future workforce capability framework.

The previous enterprise agreement expired on June 30, 2015. Federation first contacted TAFE in April 2015 seeking a new agreement, with negotiations beginning in July 2015.

In April, TAFE NSW unilaterally terminated bargaining and put to a vote a proposed enterprise agreement that significantly attacked working conditions and its proposed award. Federation recommended members reject that deal — and so 91 per cent of ballots cast were “No” votes, forcing TAFE NSW back to the negotiating table.

Results of a protected action ballot, conducted in October, flagged to TAFE NSW that TAFE teachers were willing to take industrial action if a negotiated settlement could not be reached. Terms of settlement were achieved soon after.