Labour Disputes

The South African labour market has since 1994 undergone a transformation with the objective of improving general working conditions for all South Africans.

The labour disputes in South Africa are dealt with by the following organs:

  • Bargaining Councils
  • Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration
  • Labour Court

The Steps to be taken when a party refers a labour dispute to the CCMA are set out hereunder:

  1. If you have a labour dispute relating to an unfair dismissal, you have 30 days from date on which the dispute arose to refer the matter to the CCMA and with discrimination cases, you have six months.
  2. A referral form, known as LRA Form 7.11 need to be completed.
  3. A copy of the completed form should be delivered to the other party.
  4. The CCMA will inform both parties of a date, time and venue of the first hearing which meeting is called the conciliation hearing.
  5. At the conciliation hearing, no legal representation is allowed but only trade unions or employer organisation representatives will attend the conciliation hearing.
  6. If no agreement is reached at conciliation, the Commissioner will issue a Certificate stating that the dispute could not be resolved by way of conciliation and the Commissioner will refer the dispute to arbitration.
  7. When the dispute is referred to Arbitration, the party will have to complete a LRA Form 7.13 and serve a copy thereof on the other party. One have to apply for Arbitration within 3 months from the date on which the Commissioner issued the Certificate.
  8. Legal representation is allowed at Arbitration.
  9. The award made by the Commissioner, will be final and binding, which is called an Arbitration Award.
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