If you have a dispute with your employer, you may want to ask the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (“CCMA”) to conciliate or even arbitrate your dispute. A union or employer’s organisation may also initiate this action. Furthermore, you do not need the other party’s consent before taking a matter to the CCMA.
Steps for disputes at the CCMA
According to the CCMA, the steps involved in resolving a dispute include:
Step 1: In the case of an unfair dismissal dispute, you have only 30 days from the date on which the dispute arose to open a case, if the case is an unfair labour practice, you have only 90 days and, with discrimination cases, you have six months.
Step 2: If you have decided to lodge a dispute, you need to complete a CCMA case referral form (also known as LRA Form 7.11.).
Step 3: Once you have completed the form, you need to ensure that a copy is delivered to the other party and you must be able to prove that a copy was sent.
Step 4: You do not have to bring the referral form to the CCMA in person. You may also fax the form or post it. Make sure that a copy of the proof that the form had been served on the other party is also enclosed.
Step 5: The CCMA will inform both parties as to the date, time and venue of the first hearing.
Step 6: Usually the first meeting is called conciliation. Only the parties, trade union or employers’ organisation representatives (if a party to the dispute is a member) and the CCMA commissioner will attend.
Step 7: If no agreement is reached, the commissioner will issue a certificate to that effect. Depending on the nature of the dispute, the case may be referred to the CCMA for arbitration or the Labour Court as the next step.
Step 8: In order to have an arbitration hearing, you have to complete a request for arbitration form, (also known as LRA Form 7.13.). A copy must be served on the other party (same as in step 3).
Step 9: Arbitration is a more formal process and evidence, including witnesses and documents, may be necessary to prove your case. Parties may cross-examine each other and legal representation is allowed. The commissioner will make a final and binding decision, called an arbitration award, within 14 days.
Step 10: If a party does not comply with the arbitration award, it may be made an order of the Labour Court.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration | CCMA|