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In many labour disputes employees may be unfamiliar on what the correct procedure is to follow.
In South Africa, the procedure followed to resolve labour disputes is not based on the rules of civil litigation, but rather regulated by the provisions of the Labour Relations Act (also known as the LRA).
The main purpose of the LRA is to provide the necessary guidelines for procedurally fair dispute resolution which ensures that employees are not be subjected to unfair labour practices.
One of the most common methods used to resolve labour disputes is conciliation. Unsuccessful conciliation may further be referred for arbitration, the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court. Conciliation and arbitration are conducted by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (also known as the CCMA).
Cases dealing with promotion, demotion, probation, training, suspension, harassment, intimidation and any other disciplinary action can be regarded as unfair labour practice disputes.
The procedure to follow in incidents related to the above-mentioned are as follows:
In the event of dismissals, including fair and unfair dismissals, the procedure to follow is as follows:
Once a labour dispute has been lodged at the CCMA, the respective parties will be notified of a date for the conciliation and /or arbitration hearing.
Legal representation by an attorney or advocate is limited at the CCMA, however it is not prohibited. This limitation to legal representation is subject to the nature and complexity of the dispute, public interest and consent to legal representation by all the parties involved.
In the event of no legal presentation being approved by the CCMA for conciliation and/or arbitration, the employee may nevertheless seek independent legal advice and legal assistance related to the labour dispute resolution proceedings implemented by the CCMA.
Prior to any proceedings being instituted at the CCMA regarding a labour dispute the employee is entitled to consult with an attorney for legal advice and assistance. It may be in their best interests to seek independent legal advice and assistance prior to or during the labour dispute to ensure they are fully informed of their rights.
Our attorneys in Cape Town offer expert legal advice on all labour and employment related issues in line with all recent and relevant developments in terms of the Labour Relations Act as well as all ad hoc legislative measures pertaining to the field, including:
Contact us for legal advice.
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