TAFE SA Enterprise Bargaining

Updated: 13 October 2021

Enterprise bargaining meetings began in 2020, but soon stalled when TAFE SA, in a business unit restructure, moved to replace Educational Managers (EMs) with lower paid Senior Business Managers.

The AEU lodged a case in the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) opposing their removal and TAFE SA was ordered not to take any further steps towards filling Senior Business Manager positions, and not to declare any additional EMs excess.

The AEU also notified the employer that we would cease enterprise bargaining as the removal of EMs will have flow-on implications for other educational staff classifications and subsequent workload proposals, making it unlikely a new agreement could be formed until the matter is resolved in SAET.

The employer is still fighting the matter before the tribunal, despite conceding another defeat by retaining the EM leadership position and restoring seven EM positions. The AEU has continued to assert that the haste to remove this educational leadership classification was outside of due process.

The AEU is seeking declarations in court that TAFE SA acted illegally by:

  • seeking to convert EM positions to MAS3 doing the same job with lesser conditions (breach of Freedom of Association);
  • declaring EMs excess when in fact they were not (breach of the Enterprise Agreement); and
  • ignoring the Status Quo provisions in the TAFE EA (breach of the Enterprise Agreement).

Winning this case will put the AEU in a better position to stop this from happening again in the future and will go a long way to protecting your jobs and your Enterprise Agreement.

The AEU has recently written to TAFE SA in an attempt to recommence the enterprise bargaining process, if the employer returns to the table in good faith with an assurance that there will be no significant changes to the educational staffing conditions or structure outside of enterprise bargaining processes. Negotiations have recommenced albeit at arms length through an exchange of letters. The AEU will continue to fight for the preservation or improvement of all current entitlements.

The AEU is proposing enhancements in working conditions that include:

  • better remuneration;
  • reasonable and sustainable workloads;
  • better work travel arrangements;
  • safe and secure employment; and
  • improved access to quality professional development.

We welcome the employer’s return to a transparent process that promotes best educational practices throughout TAFE SA. 

Protecting your rights at work

Enterprise Bargaining is the place where the AEU members' interests run up against the employer's desire to do more with less with greater workforce "flexibility".  The bargaining process is one of compromise without giving up hard fought wins from previous agreements.

The AEU's Log of Claims in the TAFE Enterprise Bargaining 2019 provides AEU members with broad proposals developed by TAFE Divisional Council that guide AEU negotiations.  Some components will be easily agreed, other will be fiercely opposed.