Johannesburg - Labour rights groups have lauded the Labour Court’s judgement which will see many non-unionised workers make their own choice of representation at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
The Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) took the CCMA to the Labour Court on Tuesday to challenge the independent authority's rules on representation.
The CCMA’s rule book stated that only an office bearer, member of a registered trade union or a legal representative may represent workers at a hearing.
The right’s group said this rule was faulty and did not take into consideration workers who did not belong to any union, which amounts to over 70% of workers in the country.
It said the rule did not give workers enough leeway on choosing their own representation.
“The CCMA argued that its new dispute rule 35 (1) allows discretion to allow other parties to represent workers. However, this discretion has never exercised despite it coming into effect 18 months ago. This has prejudiced non-unionised workers attempting to enforce their rights in terms of the Labour Relations Act at the CCMA,” said CWAO’s Ighsaan Schroeder.
The Labour Court’s order means that CCMA commissioners are now obliged to issue their discretion to allow other parties to represent workers during hearings.
The court gave the CCMA ten days to issue a practice notice to all its commissioners outlining how the right should be exercised.
This will give labour rights groups such as CWAO the right to represent workers at hearings.