How Does the CCMA Work?

How Does the CCMA Work?

The CCMA is the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and is the one name that employees should remember, but how does the CCMA work and how can the organisation be of assistance?

The CCMA’s main purpose is to promote fair practices in the workplace and it is an independent body. This means that they are not siding for employers, employer organisations, unions or employees. They are not affiliated to any political organisation or party and parties can thus approach them without ever having to be concerned that they will not be objective in resolving a dispute. They have offices throughout the country, making it possible for employers and employees alike to benefit from their advice and dispute resolution capacity.

The CCMA makes rules to regulate their own operations including costs, documentation and processes and they help to create forums and publish information about dispute resolutions.

How the CCMA Works – Dispute Resolution?

A dispute is referred to the commission and a commissioner is appointed to oversee the dispute resolution process for the particular case. The aim is to resolve any issue within 30 days from referral. The commissioner is responsible for setting up a conciliation strategy which includes from the gathering of the relevant information to the mediation and recommendation regarding a suitable outcome. Once the dispute has been resolved within the allowable period, the commissioner has the responsibility of providing a certificate to indicate what the outcome of the dispute has been. The legal rights of both parties (the person lodging the dispute and the defending party) are protected.

Before Referring the Dispute

Parties must first attempt to resolve the dispute through the internal employer procedures for disputes at the workplace and by following the Codes of Good Practice. Before a party refers a dispute it is essential to determine whether there are strong points for referral. It is also essential to determine whether the dispute falls within the CCMA’s scope.

The CCMA, for instance, doesn’t resolve disputes related to salary non-payment which will not normally be handled by the Department of Labour. The CCMA also doesn’t handle dispute resolution related to independent contractors.

Timeframe for Dispute Referral

It is essential to complete the forms as available from the CCMA within the 30 days allowable period after dismissal. If the dispute relates to unfair labour practice, the complaining party has 90 days from the date of the incident to refer the dispute to the CCMA. Note that the days include weekends and public holidays.

Submission of the Referral Form

Once the lodging party has completed the referral form they need to send to send a copy to the defending party which can be hand delivered, faxed or posted through registered mail. The proof of sending the copy to the other party must then be attached to the form and submitted to the CCMA. The CCMA will schedule a date for the hearing and notify the respected parties of such. The hearing takes place and the outcome is recorded in certificate form.

Contact the Allardyce & Partners attorneys at or on 011 234 2125 for legal guidance and assistance regarding labour dispute resolution.


NB this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You are advised to consult with us before using/relying on this information.

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