COMMISSION FOR CONCILIATION, MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION
CCMA DIRECTOR'S REPORT
FOR THE PERIOD 1 APRIL 2004 TO 31 MARCH 2005
This report provides an overview of the operational activities of the CCMA for the financial period 2004/2005. The period under review has been eventful with significant achievements and challenges in the implementation of the goals set out in the CCMA’s three-year strategic plan. The implementation of the strategic plan is driven by the operational plan, which is reviewed annually. The key aspects of the strategic plan are:
As part of its commitment to service delivery during the period under review, the CCMA adopted a program of assessing and monitoring user satisfaction. The intention being to enhance provision of efficient, cost-effective and accessible dispute resolution and prevention service to the public. An extensive customer service research was, in this regard, conducted with external users to investigate the current strengths and challenges related to the CCMA servicing its users effectively.
The findings of the survey revealed both the strengths and challenges with regard to customer satisfaction. It revealed that 42% of all the respondents rated the CCMA commissioners’ understanding of issues to be good and 31% rated it as excellent. Whilst, 22% rated the commissioner’s understanding of issues to be average, only 5% rated it as poor. It also revealed that there is a 10% higher level of satisfaction in terms of the CCMA Administrative staff’s helpfulness nationally. More than 80% of the respondents interviewed indicated that the CCMA staff at the front desk had informed them of what to do in order to resolve their problems. 76% of the respondents indicated that there had been an attempt at resolving their matters at the front desk by means of a pre-conciliation hearing.
Based on these findings the CCMA’s Education and Training Department (ETD) has set up training workshops to investigate the approach to adopt in dealing with the current strengths and challenges related to servicing users effectively. In addition, ETD has conducted training for commissioners, secured accreditation for eight (8) assessors, trained thirty (30) training facilitators and upgraded the training materials in compliance with quality control.
The introduction of the Economic Literacy and Plain English Writing courses which were introduced as part of the strategy to enhance the quality of settlements and award writing respectively, provides an opportunity to excel in the quest for excellent service delivery. A Management Development Program was also introduced during the period under review.
Significant strides have been made in the areas of dispute resolution, dispute management (prevention) and institution building, in the drive to remain the primary dispute resolution institution of choice in the South African labour market.
In the area of dispute resolution, national settlement rate improved by 6% over the previous year.
Some 32% of the total jurisdictional cases were finalized in one event at the con/arb. The average number of days that a conciliation took from "Activated" to "Case Closed" is 33, which indicates a 26% improvement from the previous year. On average there was a 3.0% increase in the number of cases deemed to be ‘jurisdictional’ over the previous year.
The challenges in the area of dispute resolution relate to developing a strategy to reduce:- the high rate of postponement, particularly on the part of part time commissioners which accounts for 74% of the postponements and the high rate and the turn around time in the enforcement of arbitrations in terms of section 143.
Progress has also been measured against the highlights in terms of the achievements attained by the CCMA throughout its nine (9) years of existence in the 11 years of South Africa’s democracy. Some of the highlights are:
Other challenges not linked to the amendment of the Act:
In terms of Section 150 of the Labour Relations Act, the CCMA continues to be a watchdog in the labour market through intervention in labour disputes. Examples in this regard are the National Road Freight Industry strike, SACCAWU / Woolworths, SACCAWU / Pick & Pay fact finding and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Mineworkers strike, where workers had staged an underground "sit-in.
Through the activities of the Institution Building Unit (IB) during the period under review, the CCMA has successfully developed a better and constructive relationship with bargaining councils. In addition to processing enforcement of arbitration awards of bargaining councils, the IB has facilitated a number training workshops for bargaining councils. With the view to introducing uniformity and consistency in the labour market, the IB has reached an understanding with bargaining councils that they should align their rules to those of the CCMA, and in this regard, over 50% of the bargaining councils have aligned their rules to those of the CCMA.
The Dispute Management Unit (DM) conducted a series of training workshops for shop-stewards, advice officers, full time union officials and employers, during the period under review. In conjunction with the Research Unit, the DM commissioned an impact assessment evaluation, the outcome of which is extremely positive.
The majority of those who have attended the training indicated that they benefited from the training and that they have applied their learning both at their workplaces and their communities.
More importantly, the DM successfully initiated and facilitated a regional co-operation workshop with neighboring countries. The objective of the workshop was to establish regional co-operation with the view to sharing knowledge and experience.
Good governance and excellent service delivery remain at the top of the agenda of the CCMA. In this regard, we need to complement Human Resources, Finance and Audit Sub-Committees of the Governing Body for their vigilant implementation of the CCMA’s Financial Policies and Procedures. As well as for the guidance and support they rendered to management in between Governing Body meetings. The Finance committee has in particular played a critical role in monitoring and ensuring that expenditure is within budget and that basic accounting principles are in place.
General criticism has been level against the CCMA for its alleged "over proceduralism" and being "legalistic". This criticism seems to find its root in the largely anecdotal stories about the impact of CCMA processes on small business.
As part of its commitment to efficient service delivery and meeting the needs of its users, the CCMA has resolved to conduct a research during the financial year 2005/2006. The theme of the research will be "The CCMA’s Contribution to the Labour Market Transformation." The focus of the research will be to determine the contribution the CCMA has made to the transformation process as envisaged by the Labour Relations Act. In this regard the main research question will be:
"To what extent are perceptions of the CCMA’s "over-proceduralism" and "over legalism correct".
The sub-questions for this research will cover:
The distinction between "backlog" and "cases in progress" still remain a challenge. As indicated above the average number of days that conciliation took from "Activated" to "Case Closed" was 33 days and 88 days for arbitration for the period under review. A backlog occurs when the CCMA fails to meet the turn around time set-out in the Labour Relations Act, which is 30 days for conciliation and 90 days for arbitration. The cases in progress for the period under review is as follows:
therefore, total case in process = 19 239
COST OF CASES IN PROCESS
Referred to activated = 150 – 3% pre-conciliated = 145
Activated to arrangement to scheduled = 7 788 – 22% withdrawn/settled by parties
= 6 075
+ 2 159 already scheduled = 8 234
for scheduling from 01 April = 8 234 @ ave. of 4 per day
= 2 058 case days of which 60% allocated to part-time commissioners
= 1 234 case days
1 234 case days @ ave. cost of R1 200 per day = R1 480 800.
MR EDWIN MOGOMOTSI MOLAHLEHI
DIRECTOR : CCMA
Dated : 06 JUNE 2005