Picture: 123RF/HAFAKOT
Picture: 123RF/HAFAKOT

There has been a lot in the media lately about the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) budget cuts.  Much of the chatter has been how the R600m budget cuts over the next three years will affect service delivery.

However, everyone seems to have missed one vital point. As we go into a situation where referrals to the CCMA are rising at an unprecedented rate and the economy is still in crisis, the CCMA will be able to perform at only about 20% of its full capacity. The CCMA will not have 60% of its commissioners until at least the beginning of March 2021. These 60% do more than 80% of the arbitrations, which in essence means the backlog of arbitrations will retard the CCMA throughout 2021. 

We also need to understand that as employers are not getting any further help from the department of employment & labour in the form of the Temporary Employer Relief Scheme they will need to start a new wave of retrenchments. Coupled with this, the national minimum wage is set to increase in the next few months, leading to even more retrenchments, especially farm labour and domestic workers.

It does not help to have well-structured labour laws and fantastic labour rights if these laws and rights cannot be implemented, enforced and adjudicated. By destroying the CCMA through enormous budget cuts, we are destroying worker rights.

Michael Bagraim, MP

DA deputy shadow employment & labour minister

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