Arbitration: parties agree to bring their dispute to an arbitrator who makes a binding ruling on the dispute. This procedure is a private dispute resolution without going to court.  

Joinder: the process of bringing in a new defendant in an existing action.

Jurisdiction: the right for a court to hear a case.

The CCMA is a juristic person and is independent of the State, any political party, trade union, employer, employers’ organisation, federation of trade unions or federation of employers’ organisations. The Commission has jurisdiction in all provinces of our country. The Minister, after consulting the governing body, must determine the location for the Commission’s head office. The Commission must maintain an office in each province of the Republic and as many local offices as it considers necessary.

The functions

The Commission must-

  1. attempt to resolve, through conciliation, any dispute referred to in the Act;  
  2. if a dispute that has been referred to it remains unresolved after conciliation, arbitrate the dispute if—
  3. the Act requires arbitration and any party to the dispute has requested that the dispute has be resolved through arbitration; or
  4. all the parties to a dispute in respect of which the Labour Court (LC) has jurisdiction consent to arbitration under the auspices of the Commission;
  5. assist in the establishment of workplace forums in manner prescribed by the Act;
  6. compile and publish information and statistics about its activities; and
  7. at least every second year, review any rules made in terms of the Act,

The Commission may—

  1. if asked, advise a party to a dispute about the procedure to follow the Act;
  2. if asked, assist a party to a dispute to obtain legal advice, assistance or representation;

a) if requested, provide assistance of an administrative nature to an employee earning less than the threshold prescribed by the Minister under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) to serve any notice or document in respect of conciliation or arbitration proceedings in terms of this Act, provided that the employee remains responsible in law for any such service;

  • offer to resolve a dispute that has not been referred to the Commission through conciliation;

b) makes rules—

  1. to regulate the proceedings at its meetings and at the meetings of any committee of the Commission;
  2. regulating the practice and procedure—

aa) for any process to resolve a dispute through conciliation;

bb) at arbitration proceedings; and

  1. determining the amount of any fee that the Commission may charge and regulating the payment of such a fee in detail;
  2. conduct, oversee or scrutinise any election or ballot of a registered employers’ organisation if asked to do so by that trade union or employers’ organisation;
  3. publish guidelines in relation to any matter dealt with in the Act; and
  4. conduct and publish research into matters relevant to its functions; and

The Commission may make rules regulating—

  1. the practice and procedure in connection with the resolution of a dispute through conciliation or arbitration;
  2. the process by which conciliation is initiated, and the form, content and use of that process;
  3. the process by which arbitration or arbitration proceedings are initiated and the form, content and use of that process;
  4. the joinder of any person having an interest in the dispute in any conciliation and arbitration proceedings;
  5. the intervention of any person as an applicant or respondent in conciliation or arbitration proceedings;
  6. The amendment of any citation and the substitution of any party for another in conciliation or arbitration proceedings;
  7. the hours during which offices of the Commission will be open to receive any process;
  8. any period that is not to be counted for the purpose of calculating time or periods for delivering any process or notice relating to any proceedings;
  9. the forms to be used by parties and the Commission;
  10. the basis on which a commissioner may make any order as to costs in any arbitration;
  11. the right of any party to be represented by any person or category of persons in any conciliation or arbitration proceedings, including the regulation or limitation of the right to be represented in those proceedings;

a) the consequences for any party to conciliation or arbitration proceedings for not attending those proceedings;

  • the circumstances in which the Commission may charge a fee in relation to any conciliation or arbitration proceedings or for any services the Commission provides; and
  • All other matters incidental to performing the functions of the Commission.

3)  The Commission may provide employees, employers, registered trade unions, registered employers’ organisations, federations of trade unions, federations of employers’ organisations or council with advice or training relating to the primary objects of this Act or any other employment law, including but not limited—

(a) establishing collective bargaining structures;

(b) designing, establishing and electing workplace forums and creating deadlock-breaking mechanisms;

(c) the functioning of workplace forums;

(d) preventing and resolving disputes and employees’ grievances;

(e) disciplinary procedures;

(f) procedures in relation to dismissals;

(g) the process of restructuring the workplace;

(h) affirmative action and equal opportunity programmes; and

(i) the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Commission must perform any other duties imposed, and may exercise any other powers conferred by the Act and is competent to perform any other function entrusted to it by any other law.

The governing body’s rules of procedure, the terms of appointment of its members and other administrative matters are dealt with in Schedule 3. A rule made under ss2 (cA) or (2A) must be published in the Government Gazette. The Commission will be responsible to ensure that the publication occurs.  A rule so made will not have any legal force or effect unless it has been published.

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