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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

138. General provisions for arbitration proceedings



(1) The commissioner may conduct the arbitration in a manner that the commissioner considers appropriate in order to determine the dispute fairly and quickly, but must deal with the substantial merits of the dispute with the minimum of legal formalities.


(2) Subject to the discretion of the commissioner as to the appropriate form of the proceedings, a party to the dispute may give evidence, call witnesses, question the witnesses of any other party, and address concluding arguments to the commissioner.


(3) If all the parties consent, the commissioner may suspend the arbitration proceedings and attempt to resolve the dispute through conciliation.


(4) [Subsection (4) deleted by the Labour Relations Amendment Act, 2002]


(5) If a party to the dispute fails to appear in person or to be represented at the arbitration proceedings, and that party—
(a) had referred the dispute to the Commission, the commissioner may dismiss the matter; or
(b) had not referred the dispute to the Commission, the commissioner may—
(i) continue with the arbitration proceedings in the absence of that party; or
(ii) adjourn the arbitration proceedings to a later date.



(6) The commissioner must take into account any code of good practice that has been issued by NEDLAC or guidelines published by the Commission in accordance with the provisions of this Act that is relevant to a matter being considered in the arbitration proceedings.


(7) Within 14 days of the conclusion of the arbitration proceedings:
(a) the commissioner must issue an arbitration award with brief reasons, signed by that commissioner;
(b) the Commission must serve a copy of that award on each party to the dispute or the person who represented a party in the arbitration proceedings; and
(c) [Paragraph (7)(c) deleted by section 19 of Act No. 6 of 2014]


(8) On good cause shown, the director may extend the period within which the arbitration award and the reasons are to be served and filed.


(9) The commissioner may make any appropriate arbitration award in terms of this Act, including, but not limited to, an award—
(a) that gives effect to any collective agreement;
(b) that gives effect to the provisions and primary objects of this Act;
(c) that includes, or is in the form of, a declaratory order.


(10) The commissioner may make an order for the payment of costs according to the requirements of law and fairness in accordance with rules made by the Commission in terms of section 115(2A)(j) and having regard to—
(a) any relevant Code of Good Practice issued by NEDLAC in terms of section 203;
(b) any relevant guideline issued by the Commission.