As of 1 December 2020, the CCMA announced that it would stop the use of part-time commissioners and has since been functioning with the use of full-time commissioners only. This plans to continue until March 2021.
This was implemented after the CCMA experienced a budgetary cut of approximately R617 million in the 2019/2020 financial year.
The CCMA is experiencing an increase in its caseload as a result of National Minimum Wage disputes as well as increased retrenchment referrals amongst other disputes.
Though the commission has vowed to attempt to ‘do more with less’, the lessening number of active commissioners will lengthen the duration of disputes and curtail the implementation of both worker and employer rights. What will further ensure is that a greater administrative burden on commissioners and CCMA staff.
The role of the CCMA has always been to create a speedier and more cost-effective method of dispute resolution. The process of conciliation, for example, allows parties to resolve the dispute amicably without overburdening the arbitration caseload. A possible consequence of a ‘rushed’ dispute resolution process is that commissioners will be under greater pressure to settle matters and may persuade parties to sign agreements which may not be favourable to either party.
Though the commission has undertaken to review all processes internally to ensure that budget cuts have a minimal effect, the reduction of staff will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on employees and employers alike.
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