TAFE teachers take historic stopwork action today

TAFE teachers take historic stopwork action today with new figures showing TAFE teacher shortage to worsen.

Teachers at Victoria’s 12 standalone TAFEs will stop work today, with the Australian Education Union releasing a report showing the shortage of TAFE teachers will get worse unless the Allan Government addresses their concerns.

TAFE teachers have not stopped work as part of a campaign for decent wages and conditions since 2008.

The Victorian State of our TAFEs report shows 71% of TAFE teachers considered leaving their job last year citing concerns about unsustainable workloads, high stress, poor TAFE funding and inadequate pay.

This is extremely concerning given the Victorian government’s own Jobs and Needs Training Report shows vocation education teachers as the third highest occupation for new workers to be trained in, sitting between motor mechanics and aged and disability care workers.

TAFE teachers will be forced to escalate industrial action to a 24-hour stopwork if the Allan Labor Government does not put a decent pay and conditions offer on the table that addresses TAFE teachers’ concerns.

The State of our TAFEs report is based on a survey of 490 Victorian TAFE teachers and shows that:

  • 40% of teachers expect to cease working as a TAFE teacher by 2029, just five years away, and 71% of teachers considered leaving TAFE during 2023.
  • 71% of teachers who say they have considered leaving in the last 12 months cited improved pay would encourage them to stay, along with 62% reporting reduced administrative duties to allow them to focus on class preparation and teaching students.
  • 66% of teachers say their pay and working condition do not reflect their professional value or the work they do.
  • 79% say there is a shortage of teachers in their department, with the reasons for the shortage including pay and conditions available in industry, excessive workloads, stress, and poor funding for TAFEs.
  • 53% of teachers report class sizes have increased over the past two years, and 54% say class sizes present an OH&S risk.

AEU Victorian Branch President Meredith Peace said the report released today shows the impact of the failure of the state government to address teachers’ concerns.

“We have been at the negotiating table for two years trying to get a pay and conditions deal that addresses these concerns, but the Allan Labor Government has failed to provide a decent offer.

“There are serious problems with the underfunding of Victoria’s TAFEs, with the impacts being felt by teachers and students.

“AEU TAFE members report a decline in student wellbeing and engagement over the past two years and say they do not have the time, resources, equipment, and professional development they need to support them.

“By 1 July, TAFE teachers in Victoria will receive $7,700 less than equivalent experienced school teachers.

“The Victorian Labor party came to power in this state nearly ten years ago promising to save TAFE. Instead, our TAFEs have been the lowest funded in the country for nine of the last ten years, and we have a shortage of TAFE teachers that will only get worse unless real action is taken.

“Victoria’s TAFE teachers are educating the future workers our state desperately needs, helping to address chronic skill shortages. Without TAFE teachers, there are no tradies to build the homes we need. There are no personal care and disability workers to support the community members that need that care. There are no early childhood educators to educate our youngest children.

“The Allan Labor Government must put a decent pay and conditions offer for TAFE teachers on the table, to not only benefit teachers, but for the students and business that rely on them,” Ms Peace said.

Key background information for media:

  • 22 stopwork meetings will be held today involving teachers at Victorian TAFEs across the state.
  • It has been almost two years since negotiations commenced and 18 months since TAFE teachers received a pay rise.
  • Skill shortages across the Victorian economy are being impacted by a shortage of TAFE teachers to deliver the courses needed.
  • The Victorian Government forecasts that they will need an additional 2,709 Vocational Education Teachers by 2026.
  • As of 1 July 2024, TAFE teachers will be paid $7,742 or over 7% less than similarly experienced school teachers.
  • In the recent protected industrial action ballot, an average of 97% of TAFE teachers voted in favour of authorising stopwork action.
  • TAFE teachers will hold further stop work actions in July, escalating to a 24-hour stop work in August if their concerns are not adequately addressed by the Allan Labor Government.

MEDIA CONTACT: WILL BREWSTER – 0458 809 472

12 June 2024