<A> Reconstruction of CCMA Commissioners' Perceptions of Dispute Resolution in South Africa : a multi-perspective approach
Keywords:Dispute settlement, labour relations, conflict resolution, labour disputes, arbitration, conciliation,, industrial sociology, mediation, South Africa
A reconstruction of CCMA commissioners' perceptions of dispute resolution in South Africa: A multi-perspective approach This study focuses on the problems in the dispute resolution system in South Africa. The aim of this study is to explore the perceptions of commissioners of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) regarding the capacity of parties to effectively deal with labour .conflict and disputes within the legal framework provided by the Labour Relations Act (LRA) (66/95). This includes an investigation into the reasons for the high referral rate of unfair dismissal cases to the CCMA and the influence of the case-overload on the effective functioning of the disputé resolution system. The · functionalist and conflict theoretical perspectives are used to study the structural aspects of the dispute resolution system and to explore structural strain. The interactionist perspective is used in the methodology of this study to reconstruct the perceptions of a group of CCMA commissioners. This study is predominantly of a qualitative nature and was conducted in an exploratory manner through in-depth interviews and e-mail questionnaires. Dunlop's open systems approach allowed for the conceptualisation of the major dispute resolution components of the labour relations system. T!Je analysis of the transformation of conflict formed the basis for understanding the background, the problem statement, the aims and assumptions of this study. lt was found that the guidelines in Schedule eight of the LRA (66/95) have become the norm for dealing with conflict within an enterprise, creating complex and technical processes for dealing with disputes. However, most of the employers and individual employees do not have the knowledge and skills to operate effectively in the system. This has led to a new type of adversarialism in the individual employment relationship, which is based on rights, rules and power. The very technical nature of the internai conflict resolution mechanisms, the incapacity of the parties and the adversarial nature of the labour relationship have resulted in the high referral rate and consequent problems that the CCMA is experiencing.
Arbitration Foundation of South Africa (AFSA). (date un'known). Labour Relations Conflict Resolution Setvice Handbook. The Arbitration Foundation of South Africa: Johannesburg.
Albertyn, S. 2002. The New CCMA Rules. Industrial Law Journal. Vol, 23. October. pp1715-1732.
Aligisakis, M. 1997. Labour disputes in Western Europe: Typology and tendencies. International Labour Review. Vol.136, No. 1. Spring 1997. pp73-94.
AMSSA. 2002. CON-ARB. The beginnings of a multi-door court. Amssa News. Vol. 4, August. Arbitration
and Mediation Services of South Africa: Sandton.
Anstey, M. 1991. Negotiating conflict: Insights and skills for negotiators and peacemakers. Juta & Co: Kenwyn.
Babbie, E. 1989. The Practice of Social Research. Fifth Edition. Wadsworth Publishing Company: California.
Bailey, K. D. 1978. Methods of Social Research. The Free Press: New York.
Barker, F. S. 2003. The South African Labour Market. Fourth edition. Van Schaik Publishers: Pretoria.
Barrett, B., Rhodes, E. and Beishon, J. 1981. Industrial Relations and the wider society: Aspects of interaction. Collier Macmillan: London.
Basson, A., Christianson, M., Garbers, C., Le Roux, P. 'A. K., Mischke, C. and Strydom, E. M. L. 2000. Essential Labour Law. Volume 1. Individual Labour Law. Second Edition. Labour Law Publications: Groenkloof.
Bendix, S. 1996. Industrial relations in the new South Africa. Third edition. Juta & Co: Kenwyn.
Berger, P. L. and Kellner, H. 1981. Sociology reinterpreted: An essay on method and vocation. Pelican Books: Middlesex.
Botha, H. 1996. The guide to the new Labour Relations Act 1995. PractitionlR Publications CC: Pinetown.
Brand, J. 1999. CCMA: Achievements and Challenges-Lessons from the first three years. Paper presented· at the 12ᵗʰ Annual Labour Lc:1w Conference: Durban.
Brand, J. 2000. CCMA: Achievements and challenges- Lessons from the first three years. Industrial Law Journal. Vol. 21, No. 1, January, pp77-97.