TasTAFE members recently voted to endorse their Log of Claims to take into bargaining for a new TasTAFE Staff Agreement, their first in the Fair Work system after leaving the Tasmanian State Service.
TasTAFE has sent an opening salvo, threatening to take the CPSU to the Fair Work Commission and claiming that your union is breaching good faith bargaining principles by giving members time to consider their Log of Claims, rather than meeting TasTAFE’s self-imposed deadline for claims to be served.
It’s pretty rich to be lectured on good faith bargaining principles when TasTAFE started the year by announcing it would challenge a ruling by the Fair Work Commission that it could not hire new employees on conditions that undercut their colleagues’, even going so far as to claim that blocking its attempt to set up second-rate employment conditions was “inimical to the success” of its transition to a Government Business.
In this week’s Budget Estimates, Minister Ellis and TasTAFE CEO Grant Dreher confirmed it had initiated a process to appeal the Fair Work ruling, in the following exchange:
Under repeated questioning, Minister Ellis also would not guarantee that the new Agreement wouldn’t seek to force TasTAFE staff to work more for no additional pay.
It’s clear we’re not in Kansas anymore, and these are the games we can expect them to play. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we have strength in numbers to help build a strong and united workforce heading into negotiations.
It is precisely for this reason that CPSU members have included a No Privatisation/Secure Jobs clause as part of their draft Log of Claims. We will campaign strongly to ensure that your Agreement does not allow a second-class workforce to undermine the conditions Premier Rockliff guaranteed would not be reduced as a consequence of the move.
A commitment is one thing, but it’s up to us to hold them to it.
Employers under Fair Work, like TasTAFE, don’t always bargain in the best interests of their workers, so we need to work together to protect your conditions. Being union is how we achieve this.
Together, CPSU members are pushing for no reduction in rights or conditions, fair pay increases that reflect increases to cost-of-living, and better leave entitlements.
Keeping reading our story on the Commonwealth’s Same Job, Same Pay laws to see how employers have systematically exploited loopholes in the Fair Work system to accomplish just what TasTAFE is attempting to do.