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Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995)

Chapter VII : Dispute Resolution

Part C : Resolution of disputes under auspices of Commission

135. Resolution of disputes through conciliation


(1) When a dispute has been referred to the Commission, the Commission must appoint a commissioner to attempt to resolve it through conciliation.


(2) The appointed commissioner must attempt to resolve the dispute through conciliation within 30 days of the date the Commission received the referral: However the parties may agree to extend the 30-day period.


(3) The commissioner must determine a process to attempt to resolve the dispute, which may include—
(a) mediating the dispute;
(b) conducting a fact-finding exercise; and
(c) making a recommendation to the parties, which may be in the form of an advisory arbitration award.


(3A) If a single commissioner has been appointed, in terms of subsection (1), in respect of more than one dispute involving the same parties, that commissioner may consolidate the conciliation proceedings so that all the disputes concerned may be dealt with in the same proceedings.


(4) [Section 135(4) deleted by section 26 of Act No. 12 of 2002]


(5) When the conciliation has failed, or at the end of the 30-day period or any further period agreed between the parties—
(a) the commissioner must issue a certificate stating whether or not the dispute has been resolved;
(b) the Commission must serve a copy of that certificate on each party to the dispute or the person who represented a party in the conciliation proceedings; and
(c) the commissioner must file the original of that certificate with the Commission.


(a) If a dispute about a matter of mutual interest has been referred to the Commission and the parties to the dispute are engaged in an essential service then, despite subsection (1), the parties may consent within seven days of the date the Commission received the referral—
(i) to the appointment of a specific commissioner by the Commission to attempt to resolve the dispute through conciliation; and
(ii) to that commissioner's terms of reference.
(b) If the parties do not consent to either of those matters within the seven-day period, the Commission must as soon as possible—
(i) appoint a commissioner to attempt to resolve the dispute; and
(ii) determine the commissioner's terms of reference.