Quality fee-free TAFE at risk without TAFE teachers

The Australian Education Union Victorian Branch has today lodged an application in the Fair Work Commission for a single interest employer authorisation on behalf of Victorian TAFE teachers. The application is made with the majority support of TAFE teachers across Victoria. 

To deliver fee-free TAFE it is critical that TAFE teacher salaries and conditions attract the next generation of teachers and retain those already in these crucial roles. If successful, the Fair Work Commission application would allow bargaining for a new industrial agreement across all 12 Victorian TAFE institutes, taking advantage of new federal industrial relations laws which commenced in June this year. 

Since the start of 2022, TAFE teachers have been clear about the key issues that must be addressed in negotiations. They include action on excessive workloads, more secure employment, proper acknowledgement of educational and vocational qualifications for high quality teaching and learning, and improved salaries that reflect the value of TAFE teachers and their contribution to student learning, the community, and the economy. 

A single interest employer agreement will allow teachers across Victorian TAFE institutes to collectively bargain and campaign for improved pay and working conditions across the board, ensuring that no one is left behind. 

“Right now, we have skills shortages in many industries, including TAFE teachers. And you cannot properly address the skills shortage until you fix the TAFE teacher shortage,” AEU Victorian Branch Deputy President Justin Mullaly said. 

“Addressing TAFE teacher pay and conditions must be a key priority for the Andrews Government. There are significant workforce challenges in Victorian TAFE Institutes, with a shortage of teachers to deliver fee-free TAFE qualifications. 

“Unless these challenges are addressed by the Andrews government through a new agreement and proper funding of our TAFEs, access to fee-free TAFE will remain compromised, and skill shortages will not improve in the way that is needed. 

“The Andrews Government knows that TAFEs are not funded for the actual cost of course delivery – their own review of the sector told them that. As a result, class sizes are increasing, course hours are being cut from students, and TAFE teachers are forced to do more with less. 

“This is not sustainable or acceptable, and no way to save TAFE. 

“The Andrews Government must provide funding for the full cost of TAFE delivery, including investment in the workforce through fair and reasonable pay and improved conditions for TAFE teachers. 

“You cannot deliver fee-free TAFE without enough TAFE teachers, and Victoria simply will not have the number of TAFE teachers we need without the investment required,” Mr Mullaly said. 


14 September 2023



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