A group of organisations is challenging the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) over its rules of representation, which they label as unfair towards workers.
The Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO), the Black Sash, the Maokeng Advice and Resource Centre, along with Ntombi Dladla, who is an applicant in the case and a labour broker, are to appear
in the Labour Court in Braamfontein on Tuesday to challenge the CCMA over its Rule 25.
In a statement, the grouping said that Rule 25 of the CCMA stated that “only an office bearer, official or member of a registered trade union or a legal representative may offer workers representation”.
The CWAO said “the CCMA’s rules of representation create particular problems for labour broker and contract workers attempting to access new rights in the Labour Relations Act (LRA)”.
According to CWAO, research by StatsSA showed that 70% of workers did not belong to a union and by and large were not able to afford legal representation, leaving workers to have to represent themselves.
‘What is perhaps even more bizarre is that workers are even prohibited from representing each other.’
“Most vulnerable workers don’t belong to unions and cannot afford a lawyer,” CWAO said. “As a result, many workers turn to advice offices for support. Since the amendment came into force the Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) based in Germiston, Gauteng, has assisted approximately 8 000 workers attempting to access these new rights.
“However, Rule 25 means that advice offices cannot represent workers in the CCMA because they are not lawyers or unions. What is perhaps even more bizarre is that workers are even prohibited from representing each other. The original LRA of 1995 allowed this kind of representation by fellow workers but was changed without explanation in 1998.”
“Rule 25 unconstitutionally and unjustifiably limits worker’s rights to a fair hearing. We argue that the CCMA must amend its rules to allow workers alternative forms of representation either through community advice offices or to allow fellow employees to represent one another. Both forms of representation are blocked by the CCMA rule and unconstitutionally prejudice the rights of workers.”
- African News Agency (ANA)