Rejected Wages Offer proposal set to worsen TasTAFE teacher shortage

Australian Education Union Tasmania strongly condemns TasTAFE’s decision to reject the union’s proposed short-term Wages Offer for teachers – a decision set to worsen a severe teacher shortage at Tasmania’s TAFE.

This rejection undermines the Rockliff Government’s promise to ‘pay teachers more’ and exacerbates the ongoing recruitment and inequity issues faced by TasTAFE.

AEU Tasmania TAFE President Tristan Sabol said the union would continue to actively engage in negotiations with TasTAFE to address a long list of improvements needed to retain teachers, but TasTAFE had failed to back their commitment to retain and recruit teachers with the higher salaries needed.

Mr Sabol said TasTAFE appeared unwilling to deliver a fair go for employees, refusing a quick solution and trying to rush negotiations on more detailed conditions.

“In an effort to find a viable solution, the AEU proposed a Wages Offer that aimed to bridge the salary disparity between transferred and non-transferred employees while ensuring the retention of experienced teachers,” he said.

“TasTAFE has chosen to disregard this offer, preventing them from recruiting teachers with attractive salaries and further delaying the resolution of critical issues that affect both teachers and the organisation as a whole. 

“By rejecting the AEU’s proposal, TasTAFE has broken its commitment to prioritise a fair go for teachers, perpetuating the inequities that are pushing desperately needed teachers out of TasTAFE.”

“It took action at the Fair Work Commission to restore the promise that no staff would be worse off under the Rockliff Government’s privatisation of TasTAFE staff, and those conditions are now protected and universal.”

“Now TasTAFE is refusing to uphold the promise to pay teachers more and solve the teacher shortage crisis.”

The AEU’s Wages Offer serves as a circuit breaker to tackle the current recruitment and salary disparities. By maintaining the Copied State Instruments and updating the salary scale, the proposal seeks to attract qualified teachers through higher salary offers while retaining experienced teachers with pay equity.

Mr Sabol said while the AEU’s Offer focuses primarily on the TasTAFE Teachers Agreement, he said TasTAFE must also address concerns regarding pay inequities across non-teaching staff. 

“The AEU will continue to adamantly reject any substandard proposal for an Agreement covering General Staff that perpetuates different pay for individuals performing the same work, or fails to adequately value their contributions to the organisation,” he said.

“We urge TasTAFE to reconsider its decision and engage in constructive dialogue to ensure the well-being of teachers and the overall fair go for all employees at the organisation.”

It comes as the AEU and the United Workers’ Union this month won again in the Fair Work Commission, with the Full Bench dismissing a TasTAFE appeal in a decision that protects workers’ conditions from cuts and broken Rockliff Government promises.