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Dispute Resolution in the GPSSBC

The GPSSBC derives its statutory power to resolve disputes from Section 52 and Section 127 of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (as amended).

In terms of the aforementioned sections, the Governing Body of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) accredits the Council to perform the dispute Resolution functions listed in section 51 of the Labour Relations Act. These functions are further limited and/or restricted to parties within the scope of t.he Council.

Council furthermore derives powers and jurisdiction from its Constitution and GPSSBC Resolution 4/2004 that governs the rules for conduct of proceedings. The Rules were established and written into a Collective Agreement to allow for an expedited and efficient dispute Resolution process within the GPSSBC.

The Rules in the main do not deviate from the provisions of the LRA and seek mainly to enhance the fundamentals contained in the Act. The Rules do however assist the Council to deliver an adequate dispute Resolution service to the Sector.

Disputes concerning dismissals and unfair labour practices are the most common disputes that are referred to the Council. The focus of the Dispute Resolution Unit is to ensure an effective and efficient dispute Resolution mechanism to its clients, through implementation of the processes and structures to ensure value adding to Council, thus delivering service excellence.

In accordance to the above values are integrity through honesty and effective service delivery, efficiency through productivity, application of best practices and excellent services, accountability through a desire to perform well, accepting accountability for own behaviour and commitment, equity through no unfair  discrimination, gender equality, integration of disability issues and affirmative action

The purpose of screening is to establish if the GPSSBC has jurisdiction or power to hear the dispute.

We first check if the referring party (Applicant) has fully completed the referral form and the Respondent party or the Employer party has been cited correctly.

We also check if the other party the Respondent has been served by the applicant.

We look for the proof of service. This can be a facsimile, registered mail, hand delivery of the referral form, and can be delivered to the employer premises personally by applicant and the must be acknowledge by signing the referral form

The GPSSBC get it mandate from the Public Service Act. In other words the any party that declares a dispute for conciliation or arbitration to GPSSBC, the applicant must be an employee employed by the State in terms of the Public Service Act.

The most important part that we look for is whether the referring party or applicant has sign the referral form.

In most cases the Resident Panellist Unit received referrals that falls within the scope of other Councils, e.g PSCBCSSSBCELRCPHSDBC and CCMA and the unit will then inform the applicant that the dispute is outside its scope of jurisdiction and it will transfer the dispute to the correct forum.

One of the functions of the unit is to issue certificate of non-resolution if 30 days has expired in terms of section 135(5) of the LRA No 66 of 1995 as amended.

The unit also process condonations applications in terms of Rule 34. If a dispute is outside statutory time frames, 90 days for ULP, 30 days for dismissals, the GPSSBC has no jurisdiction until the condonation, has been dealt with and the panellist has issued a ruling to grant the condonation.

The Resident Panellist Unit will process the application by informing the respondent that they must file their opposing affidavit within 14 days.

If after 14 days has expired, and the respondent has not oppose the condonation, the Resident Panellist administrator will appoint a panellist to issue a Ruling on papers without convening a formal hearing.

If the condonation is not granted, it is the end of the matter and the file will be closed.

In terms of Rule 24, The General Secretary or a Panellist may join any number of persons as parties in the proceedings, if their right to relief depends on substantially the same question of law or fact.

The GPSSBC received number of disputes concerning unfair labour practice related to promotion, and the case law mandate us to join the incumbent or a successful candidate in a promotional post to be joined if the relief sought affect the rights of the incumbent.

The Resident Panellist unit issues joinder rulings.

[ Case law on Non Joinder: Martin Gordon vs Department of Health KwaZulu Natal ZASCA 99 (17 September 2008) ]