This week, there have been reports about the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) facing a budget reduction to the tune of R617m which will necessitate drastic cuts in operational expenses which may include no longer conciliating disputes between employees and employers, focusing only on arbitrations. Additionally, the restrictions that had been previously placed on walk-in cases may now been extended and the use of part-time Commissioners reduced, further straining an already under-resourced organisation that is a critical resource for employees who seek conciliation due to disputes with their employers.
For many employees, the CCMA is an organisation that offered them accessible justice when they believed that their employers’ internal processes failed them. Without conciliation, employees will be forced to proceed straight to arbitration, taking away the opportunity to first attempt to resolve the dispute through the intervention of a mediator, a step in the process which is helpful to employees.
The cancellation of walk-ins would also be a blow for employees because this service enabled them to seek advice on their employment matters and procedural processes, especially workers who do not have access to the internet or who need to be explained to clearly and patiently in languages that are not English.
It’s so deeply unfortunate that budget cuts continue to compromise and impact on people who need these critical services the most.
Read CCMA’s statement here.