Sunday, June 17, 2012

CIT/TAFE EXPLOIT CASUAL WORKERS


On 16 May 2012, the Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work in Australia, chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe AO, publicly released the report of its inquiry, titled 'Lives on Hold: Unlocking the Potential of Australia's Workforce' (online at http://securejobs.org.au/submissions/lives_on_hold.pdf).   

This major report highlights how TAFE colleges are among the worst of all Australian employers as far as their exploitation of insecure casual and temporary contract workers is concerned (see pages 8, 17, 38, 58 and 64).

The Australian Education Union's February 2012 submission to this inquiry (online at http://securejobs.org.au/submissions/06_feb_2010/Australian%20Education%20Union%20National.pdf) highlighted that CIT is again one of the worst offenders in terms of its willingness to keep excessive proportions of its workforce insecurely employed, and effectively bullied out of more secure employment, in contravention of CIT's legal obligations under the employment laws that CIT is required to follow.  The following extracts from this AEU submission (see on pages 66 and 67) are especially telling:

"Canberra Institute of Technology

CIT is subject to the Public Sector Management Act and under the EA has the obligation
to promote secure, permanent employment for the majority of employees. Table 1 above
illustrates that this has not translated into action.

While the ACT government and CIT senior managers speak in favour of increased secure
employment the practical application of this policy fails at the manager level. The
primary considerations of Teacher-Managers includes the need for CIT to maintain
budget while offering flexibility in order to constantly adapt to changing student demand,
tendering successes and failures, ‘free market’ competitive pressures and the whims of
senior bureaucrats.

Teacher security is of lower priority for CIT in favour of a flexible casual workforce.
CIT considers it to be good management practice to accommodate the tight fiscal
environment to the detriment of secure, ongoing employment for teachers. Teachers
eligible for permanency are often told that they cannot be offered this due to ‘operational
requirements’, reflecting the inadequate funding regime across the CIT.

Secure employment in the CIT would be promoted by:

(a) Establishment of stable and appropriate funding of the Institute from both Territory
and Commonwealth government sources. This will remove the pressure from
management to increase the casual employment of staff.
(b) The Union standing firm on CIT’s definition of ‘operational requirements’ and the
next EA negotiations.
(c) Eradication of any bullying and harassment at CIT which renders casuals and
temporary teachers unnecessarily vulnerable to the whims of their managers.
(d) Establishment and maintenance of clearly defined casual and temporary teacher roles
and responsibilities across the CIT and an effective policing of these roles.
(e) Preventing the outsourcing, at a cheaper cost, of current teaching work done within
the CIT to other providers (e.g. CIT Solutions)."



I would like to open discussion about  the plight of being casual especially at CIT.
More to come.

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