TAFE salary increases on the way

Rod Brown
Assistant General Secretary (Research and Industrial)

TAFE teachers and related employees as well as teachers at Bradfield College can expect back pay and salary increases following approval of a new enterprise agreement by the Fair Work Commission.

In terms of salaries, the agreement provides 2.5 per cent from July 1, 2013; 2.27 per cent from January 1, 2014 and 2.15 per cent from January 1, 2015.

In September, 87 per cent of TAFE employees voted to support the agreement that was negotiated between TAFE and the Australian Education Union NSW Branch (AEU).

Subsequent to the ballot TAFE applied to the Fair Work Commission for approval of the proposed agreement. On October 10 the NSW Department of Education and Communities — TAFE NSW and the AEU appeared before Commissioner McKenna to consider the DEC’s application to approve the proposed TAFE enterprise agreement. Normally, unless there are issues of concern either to Fair Work or other parties, appearances are not required and a new enterprise agreement is simply approved in Chambers by a Fair Work Judge or Commissioner.

A number of matters were raised by the Commissioner which she required TAFE to address before the agreement could be approved.

The Commissioner identified three issues covering: an assurance that locality allowances would be applied in a non-discriminatory manner; confirmation of Bradfield College teachers' entitlement to holiday leave loading; and, that part-time employment in TAFE would be provided on a basis that is equal to or better than the relevant sections of the Modern Award which in the case of TAFE Teachers is the Educational Services (Post-secondary Education) Award 2010. The Commission required that these matters be addressed by way of a “Letter of Undertaking” to the Commission which also had to be provided to the AEU as well as any other bargaining representatives.

The matter was stood over until the Commission was satisfied with the undertakings provided by TAFE. The initial Letter of Undertaking was provided by TAFE to the Fair Work Commission on October 16. Following receipt of the letter Commissioner McKenna required further undertakings that were given on October 21. The agreement was subsequently approved on October 23 and the agreement will come into effect on October 30.

By prior agreement between the AEU and TAFE the initial 2.5 per cent salary increase will, by administrative action, commence from July 1, 2013 and will apply to all those covered by the new agreement including those who may have separated from employment between July 1 and the operative date of the new
enterprise agreement.