Additional allocations to support the work of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) should be welcomed by the entire industrial community.
Johan Botes, Director, Employment at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr says, “The CCMA is the busiest labour dispute resolution centre in the world. The last available figures (CCMA 2012 Annual Report) indicates that a total of 649 new cases are referred to the CCMA every day. Statistically, 72% of cases are settled. This leaves a significant number of cases that end up at arbitration, the Labour Court or in strikes or lock-outs.
“Any additional resources that could be allocated to the CCMA can only assist this organisation in further limiting (1) the burden on the arbitration and court processes, and (2) the risk of industrial action,” he explains.
Botes notes that the ability to appoint more commissioners and/or expand the CCMA infrastructure can add greatly to limiting destructive trends in labour negotiations and industrial action seen recently. Greater fiscal allocation to the CCMA could be used to bolster the work of the CCMA's Mediation and Collective Bargaining Centre. This department arguably holds the keys to unlocking more effective collective bargaining in South Africa. Their trained Commissioners can facilitate collective bargaining processes in key industries, thereby reducing the risk of negotiations breaking down and resulting in violent strikes.
Botes adds that employers and trade unions should both rejoice at the additional allocation earmarked for the CCMA.