Disputes at work

Resolving conflict between employers and employees

Disputes at Work

Resolving conflict between employers and employees

The Labour Relations Act, 1995, (LRA) provides for several mechanisms to resolve and help prevent conflict between trade unions and employers or employers’ organisations. These are bargaining councils and statutory councils where these exist, the commission for conciliation, mediation and arbitration (See CCMA) accredited private agencies and the labour court. Certain workplace disputes fall within the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts and must be pursued through these courts. For example, if your employer defames you, you may sue for damages. Under certain circumstances, strikes or lock-outs may be used as a last resort to try to resolve a dispute which a council or the CCMA has been unable to resolve. (See strikes.)

The most common disputes arise during annual or two-yearly reviews of wages and conditions of employment. Trade unions make proposals to employers on matters ranging from wages, deductions, hours of work, sick-pay schemes, unemployment funds, annual leave, sick leave and notice pay. If the two sides are unable to reach agreement, they refer disputes to the appropriate channel.

Source: Reader’s Digest’s You and Your Rights

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