The primary business of the ELRC is to promote the maintenance of labour peace in the public education sector in South Africa, through the provision of dispute management (and prevention) services. To this end, the grievances and disputes of educators and officials are resolved through conciliation and/or arbitration.
Over the years, disputes involving promotion/appointment of educators and dismissals have been referred to the ELRC for resolution in terms of the provisions of the Act and the constitution of the ELRC.
The ELRC, as a bargaining Council, administers the resolution of the disputes referred, through a conciliation and arbitration process. This process enables the ELRC’s appointed panelist to act as the presiding officer between parties to the dispute (employer and employee). To date more than 2500 arbitration awards have been issued under the auspices of the ELRC. The Council has also signed various resolutions pertaining to, amongst others the recruitment and the filling of posts, benefits and terms and conditions of employment. The Dispute Management Services (DMS), through its groundbreaking approaches has ascended to a seat of prominence in the South African Dispute Resolution Arena.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF DISPUTE MANAGEMENT SERVICES
DMS RENDER THE FOLLOWING SERVICES
If the conciliation remains unresolved, the General Secretary will appoint a Panellist to hear the matter for Arbitration in terms of clause 25 of the ELRC Constitution. The arbitration process is a formal hearing, and both parties have rights to call witnesses to testify and be cross-examined. The arbitrator after hearing the evidence will issue the decision in the form of an arbitration award, which is legally binding to both parties.
The General Secretary appoints a Panellist in terms of clause 24 of the ELRC Constitution in an effort to resolve a dispute within 30 days. The Conciliation process is an informal hearing conducted with minimum legal formalities. The referring party must attend the conciliation in person and has a right to be represented by a Union official or an office bearer. If the conciliation remains unresolved, the Panellist will issue an outcome certificate, or settlement agreement if the dispute is settled.
Relationship Building Initiative
A process designed to assist parties beset by intense levels of conflict, to develop sound constructive relationships.
Training and Facilitation Programmes (Capacity Building)
The DRS has conducted various workshops aimed at informing, educating and empowering parties on the following areas:
Conciliation And Arbitration Skills
This process explains and teaches the parties the appropriate circumstances in which to use at Conciliation and Arbitration and how to present cases.
Conflict and Management
The DRS offers this service to the parties in order to improve the understanding of the different options available to them for resolving disputes, as well as the skills to do so more effectively.
ELRC Dispute Resolution Systems
This is to assist the parties to look at the impact of the Dispute Resolution Procedure / LRA and their particular dispute resolution systems. This also aims at improving the party’s skills in understanding and managing conflict, communication skills, negotiation, facilitation and problem solving and mediation skills.
The Labour Bulletin is a communication tool for ELRC stakeholders
(Employers / Trade Unions / Panelists)
It covers the following areas amongst others: