Where do I report labour issues?

Before we discuss how to report unfair labour practice, we need to discuss what it is, in order to help you determine whether you have been a victim of such.

What Does the Law Say?

The Labour Relations Act No 66 of 1995 and its amendments govern employment relations in South Africa. According to the act, any employment action or omission thereof that is unfair between the employer and the employee, and which is stipulated in the act, qualifies.

It can, for example, be a demotion or failure to allow an employee into a training programme. It can also be where an employer fails to promote or to reinstate an employee according to the terms of an employment agreement. It can be where an employer suspends an employee after a disciplinary hearing for reasons not relevant and where the allegations against the employee have not been proven. It can also be an act or omission thereof by the employer against an employee who has made a protected disclosure about the actions of an employer in terms of the Protected Disclosures Act of 2000.

How to Report Unfair Labour Practices If They Involve Discrimination

If an employer, for example, fails to promote a specific employee because of the employee’s race, gender, religion, or pregnancy, the unfair labour practice is based on discrimination and the employee must report it to the Commission for Employment Equity.

Training, Promotion, and Benefits

It is not always apparent if the employer is guilty if these are done in a subtle manner. An employer can overlook three candidates for training, but provide the rest of the employees in the same department and job field with training. One has to ask why the employees have been overlooked.

In another instance, an employer may pay certain employees double for working on public holidays, but fail to do so with the others. Perhaps the employer gives all the employees training and all of them pass the assessments, but one only one or two are promoted afterwards.

How to Report Unfair Labour Practices?

Unfair labour practices must be reported to the CCMA using the LRA 7.11 form, which is downloadable from the CCMA website. The form must be completed and handed in to the Regional Office of the CCMA in the area where the dispute originated. The complainant must provide the other parties to the dispute with a copy of the form submitted to the CCMA.

The referring party must sign the form. If there is more than one referring party, other than a trade union, then each of the employees (complainants) must sign the form. The submission to the CCMA must include proof that a copy of the completed form has been given to each of the parties involved. This can be a copy of a registered slip regarding such from a post office or a signature from the party on a form, acknowledging receipt of hand delivery. It can also be a signed statement by the person who has delivered the form. A copy of an email confirmation of delivery is also accepted or a copy of a slip to prove that the faxed copy was successfully transmitted.

How Much Time Do You Have to Report Unfair Labour Practices?

Any disputes relating to unfair labour practices must be reported to the CCMA within 90 days of the incident that gave rise to the dispute. If you have failed to do so within the 90-day period, you must apply for permission to still submit the dispute.