Due to COVID-19, the CCMA has recognised that if the health and safety of its personnel as well as of the people who use its services are to be safeguarded, certain changes needed to be made to its rules.
To that end, from 1 August 2020, the following will apply:
- Applications for conciliation, arbitration, condonation in matters of Unfair Dismissal or alleged Unfair Labour Practice disputes are to be submitted via electronic mail, alternatively, through its website ccma.org.za. Access will also be possible through its Facebook page. To avoid physical contact, conciliations will take place by telephone or through digital online platforms.
- If no such conciliation process could take place within 30 days from date of referral and unless there is an extension agreed of this time period a certificate of outcome will be issued.
- In all matters were one of the parties is unable to access electronic communication, matters may be heard through a suitable external venue, e.g. at the employer’s premises, or as a last resort at a CCMA office. Where the matter proceeds to arbitration then at the pre-arbitration meeting the parties must record the following:
- If no agreement can be reached, the CCMA will decide how the arbitration is to proceed. The CCMA can also direct the exchange of pleadings as you would in court with the referring party setting out the material terms of the dispute and the Respondent party having an opportunity to respond to same and in addition agree to exchange of evidence by a way of an affidavit.
- Finally, where the parties are to attend a hearing in person all COVID-19 regulations are to be met as promulgated in terms of the National Disaster Management Act.
In this way, the CCMA hopes to be able to clear some of the backlogs which have been created as a result of its inability to function at full capacity together with the escalating demand for its services both in matters which are referred as alleged Unfair Dismissals and Unfair Labour Practice claims.
Electronic means of resolving disputes are efficient and where both parties willingly participate, can reduce the time between referral to a resolution of their dispute; And also reduce the costs both expended by the CCMA and the parties in either pursuing or defending a claim. The electronic means of dispute resolution should be actively encouraged.
Malcolm Lyons and Brivik Inc. Attorneys are recognised as leading attorneys for labour law in South Africa. If you think you have a claim and would like to discuss it further, contact us at:
Cape Town Office:
Telephone: +27(0) 21 425-5570
Telephone: +27(0) 11 268 6697