TAFE teachers vote with their feet, taking ‘historic stopwork action’
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > TAFE teachers vote with their feet, taking ‘historic stopwork action’

TAFE teachers vote with their feet, taking ‘historic stopwork action’

by Freya Lucas

June 14, 2024

Teachers at Victoria’s 12 standalone TAFEs walked off the job earlier this week, protesting pay and conditions. 


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


Based on a survey of 490 Victorian TAFE teachers the report also shows that:


  • 40 per cent of teachers expect to cease working as a TAFE teacher by 2029, just five years away, and 71 per cent of teachers considered leaving TAFE during 2023.


  • 71 per cent of teachers who say they have considered leaving in the last 12 months cited improved pay would encourage them to stay, along with 62 per cent reporting reduced administrative duties to allow them to focus on class preparation and teaching students.


  • 66 per cent of teachers say their pay and working conditions do not reflect their professional value or the work they do.


  • 79 per cent 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 per cent of teachers report class sizes have increased over the past two years, and 54 per cent say class sizes present an OH&S risk.


The findings, the Victorian branch of the Australian Teachers Union (AEU) said, are particularly concerning given that the Victorian government’s Jobs and Needs Training Report shows vocation education teachers are the third highest occupation for new workers to be trained in, sitting between motor mechanics and aged and disability care workers.


“There are serious problems with the underfunding of Victoria’s TAFEs, with the impacts being felt by teachers and students,” AEU Victorian Branch President Meredith Peace said.


“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.”


“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 early childhood educators to educate our youngest children.”


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, the Union shared.

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