PRETORIA, Jan 27 — The South African Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) expects a surge in its workload this year as it prepares to implement recent changes to the country’s labour laws.
It has already seen a sharp increase in unfair discrimination in the workplace as South African companies cope with a tough labour environment following a raft of new amendments to the labour laws and 60 million Rand (about 5.26 million US dollars) have been added to the CCMA’s budget.
The biggest change relates to the treatment of temporary employment, often secured through labour brokers. Greater protection is also provided for those earning below 205,000 Rand (about 18,000 US dollars) a year.
The new laws stipulate that temporary employees, who have been working for three months, must be treated the same as permanent staff.
However, the CCMA has dismissed concerns that the new regulations will make the labour laws more rigid and will lead to job losses. The CCMA expects unfair dismissal cases to continue to make up the bulk of its workload.
The commission has also been empowered to intervene pro-actively and arbitrate in long but legal strikes. This follows the crippling effects of the drawn-out strikes in the mining and metal industries last year.