The Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is a dispute resolution body established in terms of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA). It is the platform that aims to help resolve disputes to avoid litigation in the Labour Court which is the last resort if matters are left unresolved. The CCMA is available for the initial referral, then if need be, the matter may be referred to the Labour Court. However, most matters would be resolved at the CCMA by way of conciliation or arbitration proceedings.
When a dispute is referred to the CCMA or to the Labour Court for that matter, it is important to provide the correct information in the referral forms.
This might be difficult when there are multiple employees or employers involved in the matter. One must be careful to fill in the correct information or else he or she risks the referral being rejected or that the wrong party is called to account.
When naming the relevant parties in a matter, the issue of “joinder” comes to light. A commissioner may make an order joining any number of persons as parties in proceedings and at any stage before the conclusion.
However, in order for the commissioner to do so, it must be shown that the relief the party referring the dispute seeks rests on the same questions of law or fact that could arise in a separate claim in relation to the person and/or entity being requested to be joined.
The party to be joined may also have a substantial interest in the subject matter of the proceedings or the party to be joined may be prejudicially affected by the outcome of proceedings.
If any party chooses to bring a joinder application they must do so with copies of all documents previously delivered, including the referral form, unless the relevant person or their representative is already in possession of the documents. The application may be made at any stage prior to the conclusion of an arbitration hearing or trial at the labour court.
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