United Voice Members Recommend Saying NO to TAFE's Proposed Enterprise Agreement

Despite several months bargaining between TAFE and the combined TAFE Unions no agreement has been reached on terms of a new Agreement. TAFE has now advised it will ask all employees to vote on their proposed new Agreement shortly. The unions do not endorse the TAFE proposal.  There are three major sticking points, the new Contemporary Classification System, penalty rates, and weekly hours of work.

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Classification System

TAFE wants your new Agreement to include a provision that during its period of operation they can introduce a new (modernised) classification system, but they won’t say with any certainty what the new structure will look like. TAFE have hinted that certain jobs might be reclassified at certain levels but they won’t make any guarantees. If the hints became reality your union agrees there would be worthwhile monetary benefits available to members - but sadly nothing has been guaranteed. United Voice accepts there is scope to modernise the existing classification structure, but we do need to be certain that no position can go backwards. United Voice is also concerned that the TAFE proposal could not be approved by the Fair Work Commission because there is insufficient certainty concerning the classification structure to determine the Better Off Overall Test.

Penalty Rates

TAFE also proposes that commencing from when it introduces its new classification structure, different penalty rates arrangements will also apply. The new arrangements would mean that all employees could be required to start work earlier or to finish later, subject to payment of a shift penalty loading. But employees like security officers who can already work shifts around the clock already enjoy penalty rates which are superior to the TAFE proposal. One example is the afternoon shift 15% loading, which is currently payable where an employee works a shift with ordinary hours after 6.00 pm. The TAFE proposal would require employees work until after 7.00 pm to be entitled to the afternoon shift loading.

Weekly Hours

Full Time employees in all United Voice covered positions currently work an average 38 hour week. But employees in administrative roles (who are by far the majority in TAFE) currently work a 35 hour week. TAFE wants all employees to work a 36.5 hour week. United Voice recognises asking any employee to work extra time without extra money is not likely to be agreed to by employees. Nonetheless from a United Voice member’s perspective there’s a significant benefit. 1.5 hours less work per week (or extra RDOs) without losing money.

Considering the non agreed matters, and notwithstanding the three 2.5% annual increases TAFE is offering, your Union does not recommend members support TAFE’s proposal. Vote NO and make TAFE give you certainty about your employment conditions. 

*Read TAFE’s correspondence to United Voice here*

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