Hundreds of TAFE teachers and tutors will walk off the job for 24 hours following an ongoing dispute over a new pay deal with the Queensland government.
About 800 TAFE Queensland union members from the Queensland Teachers’ Union and Together union will strike on Wednesday, with classes expected to be cancelled across the state.
It comes after TAFE teachers and tutors held a two-hour stop-work meeting on July 30.
The current enterprise agreement expired on June 30.
Negotiations for the new agreement began in March.
QTU president Kevin Bates said progress had been made on claims from the two unions, which share coverage of education staff at TAFE Queensland.
However, “two key issues” remained unresolved, he said.
These were ensuring Queensland salaries were comparable with teachers and tutors interstate and measures to address gender employment inequity.
The Queensland government’s wages policy restricts pay rises in the public sector to 2.5 per cent a year, however, the QTU has previously sought an increase of 4.5 per cent.
Mr Bates said the salary of TAFE tutors in Queensland was among the lowest in the country.
He said: “2.5 per cent does not deliver a change in our relative position with the other states and territories – it means it needs to be more than that.”
Salaries for Queensland tutors ranged from $52,000 to $60,000, while pay packets in most other states started at $61,000 and went as high as $76,000, Mr Bates said.
“TAFE teacher salaries in Queensland remain under $100,000 while interstate colleagues extend up to a maximum of $145,000 in Tasmania, $120,000 in New South Wales and $113,000 in Victoria,” he said.
Mr Bates said women were also over-represented in “precarious” and part-time employment, which had a career-long impact on their earnings and retirement savings.
Almost 71 per cent of casual TAFE Queensland educators were women, while 56.4 per cent were temporary employees.
More than half of permanent TAFE Queensland educators were men.
The QTU is asking for annual progression through the salary scale regardless of hours worked and shared access by both parents to parental leave entitlements.
A spokeswoman for Training Minister Shannon Fentiman declined to comment as negotiations were ongoing.