Am I allowed to ask for con-arb even if the case hasn’t been set down for it?

Simangele Mzizi, Fsp Business, 30 Oct. 2014

Tags: con-arb, ccma, conciliation, arbitration

Con-arb is a combination of conciliation and arbitration.

It’s a process in which a dispute is conciliated and if it’s not settled during conciliation, the commissioner moves straight into holding an arbitration hearing. It’s a lot quicker than the normal two-stage process for resolving a dispute (conciliation followed by arbitration at a later date).

One question our experts always get regarding con-arb is: Can employers ask for con-arb even if the case hasn’t been set down for it?

Read on to find out the answer…

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No, you can’t ask for con-arb if the case hasn’t been set down for it

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service explains that you can object to con-arb if the case is set down as con-arb, but you can’t request a con-arb if it’s not scheduled as one.
If the CCMA has only scheduled the matter for conciliation, then you’ll have to follow the CCMA’s directions.
It’s that simple.

Now that you know you can’t get con-arb on request, here’s a little background on con-arb

Con-arb hasn’t always been around.
It was introduced into the Labour Relations Act (LRA) for the first time when it was amended in 2002.
The process allows the CCMA to finalise disputes much faster and takes up less time for everyone involved. It’s also less expensive for the parties and the CCMA.
There are two instances when the con-arb process is compulsory.

In this article, we explain that the con-arb process is compulsory in:
  • A dismissal for any reason relating to probation; and
  • Any unfair labour practice relating to probation.
Here’s the bottom line: You can’t ask for con-arb if the case hasn’t been set down for it.
For more information on con-arb, check out CCMA for Managers.

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