The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) says they have seen a huge increase in caseloads over the 2018/2019 financial year. The Commission says labour dispute referrals have increased as a result of technological advances and new labour legislation, such as the National Minimum Wage.
CCMA Director Cameron Morajane has warned that referrals will continue to increase in the next few years as the market continues to shed jobs.
The Commission released its annual report in Johannesburg earlier on Monday.
The CCMA says a total of 193 732 cases were referred to them during the 2018/19 financial year, compared to the almost 186 000 cases in the previous year, an increase of 4% across their 22 CCMA Offices.
“So, I can confirm to you the business and professional sectors remained the highest referring sectors sitting at 27% and followed closely by the security sector accounting 12% and then followed by the retail sector. Our projection for 2019 is that these caseloads that I have just presented, it is projected to increase by 25%,” says Morajane.
The Commission says referrals also increased due to amendments in labour laws such as the National Minimum Wage that came into effect at the beginning of 2019.
“We were fresh from the 2015 amendment’s which brought in the issues of labour brokers. You will recall Section 198, which increased our caseload. So, as matters stand, we seem to be condemned in case load increase due to legislative reforms, which are necessary and when it comes to the National Minimum Wage Act and the Basic Employment Conditions Act, it is more than what we, the CCMA had, predicted. It had a bearing on resources required by the CCMA to deliver on its mandate,” says Morajane.
Caseloads also went up due to technological advances such as the Industrial Revolution ,where machines have replaced manpower.
The CCMA says the banking sector is one of the industries where a huge job bloodbath is expected and many more jobs will be lost in other industries in the coming years.
The commission says they try their best to mitigate this impact
“It is usually called the no-fault dismissal because of operational requirements. We, as a country, we talk about the 4IR, but we do less to engage in it. And the banking sector is the hardest-hit. So, if you look at the notices why people are retrenching, it’s the technological advances at the centre of that. Do we see more happening? Absolutely,” says Morajane.
The CCMA says it has been able to meet its statutory obligation in that 88% of conceivable cases were heard within the statutory timeframe of 30 days. The CCMA says it also settled 74% of all cases heard and closed.
“We have achieved a 95% performance. We had planned to achieve a record 100% performance and we came close because out of 19 serious targets we set ourselves we only missed one. When we receive cases we must hear them within 30 days and that is the percentage that we have achieved in terms of all matters that we had in terms of law and reconciliation. In addition to that, the CCMA achieved a 99% compliance rate as only 51 out of 16 000 arbitration awards were issued outside of the 14 days period as set down in the act,” adds Morajane.
They are in urgent need of more commissioners and interpreters to be able to handle the workload that they have. He says the commission is stretched to the limit and have made a request to Parliament.
“If you look at cases of leading countries such as Canada the United States, Ireland, New Zealand and all those countries, their caseloads range from 2 000 to 7 000. At the CCMA, you’re talking about 193 000 per annum and you’re still expected to deliver within 14 days and if you look at that and the capacity required to deliver that service, it’s quite a daunting task,” says Morajane.
The CCMA says it facilitated over 5 000 collective bargaining disputes during the reported period, 1% higher than the previous year. It says high profile strikes were resolved such as the Eskom, Gautrain Bombela, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Mineral Council and the AMCU/Murray & Roberts wage disputes amongst others.
The CCMA also facilitated Section 189 retrenchment disputes where more than 38 000 employees were facing potential retrenchment. Of these, 15 787 jobs were saved, while the rest were either retrenched or opted for voluntary retrenchment.
The Commission also receives direct referral’s from the public.