In the 12 months to March 31, 2011, the Cape town CCMA received 18660 cases referred to it. This amounts to 12 percent of the national case.
Alleged unfair dismissals continue to dominate the CCMA’s case load, amounting to, as has historically been the case, 80 percent of all cases referred. The remaining 20 percent of labour disputes referred relate to such issues as alleged unfair labour practices, wage disputes, trade union rights and severance (retrenchment) pay disputes.
Nationally, the industry sectors in which labour disputes arise are typically retail (15 percent), business/ professional services (14 percent) , safety and security (12 percent), domestic workers (9 percent) and building / construction (9 percent).
The Cape Town CCMA has a conciliation settlement rate of 67.6 percent – significantly higher than the national average for the same period (62 percent). This means that approximately two-thirds of the labour disputes referred to the Cape Town CCMA do not proceed to arbitration, but are in fact “settled”, which ordinarily means that the employer pays the erstwhile employee who has referred the dispute a sum of money rather than proceed with the case.
Employers would be tempted to settle a case at conciliation either because they understand that their case is poor and they could loose at arbitration, or because it is felt that the payment of a settlement at conciliation avoids the inconvenience of proceeding to arbitration; this is sometimes referred to as payment “to avoid the hassle factor of arbitration”.
In Cape town the comparative “arbitration awards in favour of” statistics is more equally balanced, with employees winning 50,9 percent of arbitration cases heard, and employees winning the remaining 49.1 percent.
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