VIEWS: 24 PAGES: 17 POSTED ON: 8/17/2011
Dispute Resolution in the Public Service – past achievements and future innovation Dawie Bosch 14 February 2005, PSCBC Conference 2005 Overview Highlight key Taken some liberty to presume to pronounce on achievements a possible vision of the Raise issues for future for dispute possible future resolution in the public service. development Focus of paper: on the Working towards a dispute procedure, rather vision on dispute than on the nature and content of negotiations on resolution in the terms and conditions of public service employment. How does PS compare to other forums? Employees within scope of different forums 12% Conclusion – relatively few disputes Public service councils 14% Bargaining councils are referred in the (excl PS) CCMA public service. 74% No. of disputes referred to different forums 2% 19% Public service councils Bargaining councils (excl PS) CCMA 79% Rate of disputes referred to different forums Rate of disputes referred to different forums Rate of disputes referred per Sectoral Council No. of disputes referred 30 per 1000 employees in 25 7 20 scope No. of disputes referred per 1000 15 6 10 employees in scope 5 5 0 Public service CCMA All bargaining 4 councils councils (excl PS) Forums 3 2 Conclusion: Factors 1 other than PS play a 0 Health and Education Safety & General significant role in rate Welfare Security Public Service of disputes referred. Sectoral Councils Types of disputes referred ULP much Types of disputes referred to different forums more prevalent than in CCMA, 100% but less 80% common than 60% Other in other BCs. 40% Unfair Labour Practice Unfair dismissals 20% 0% Public All bargaining CCMA service councils (incl councils PS) Wider scope for role of Public Sector Councils (1)? PS Councils have achieved high standards of service delivery to their sectors. Despite some growth pains in the past, Councils generally are coping with workloads. – Although turn-around time can be improved. Parties generally have confidence in referring cases. There is scope for extension to services rendered. Wider scope for role of Public Sector Councils (2)? Potential benefits of widening scope: – Using panelists that know the sector. – Lower cost and quicker resolution. Some services have already been extended: – ELRC is engaging more frequently, with consent of parties, in facilitation of wider disputes / issues, such as restructuring. – PHWSBC is debating widening scope to conciliate and arbitrate unfair discrimination disputes, where both parties agree. Overall achievements Improvements over Fine-tuned dispute past years: procedure, and adopted dispute resolution rules – Councils have developed sufficient administrative in most of the councils. – The dispute procedures of capacity the various councils, and – High standards of service specific innovations that delivery to their sectors; have assisted to address problem areas, are – Professional panels of described in the dispute resolvers. Conciliation and Arbitration Handbook. Despite some growth pains in the past, Parties generally seem to have confidence in Councils generally are referring cases. coping with workloads, although turn-around time can be improved. Wider scope for role of Public Sector Councils (1)? There is scope for Some services have extension to already been services rendered. extended: – ELRC is engaging more Potential benefits of frequently, with consent of parties, in facilitation widening scope: of wider disputes / – Using panelists that issues, such as know the sector. restructuring. – Lower cost and quicker – PHWSBC is debating resolution. widening scope to conciliate and arbitrate unfair discrimination disputes, where both parties agree. Wider scope for role of Public Sector Councils (2)? Disputes that could be considered for future resolution by PS Councils, usually with the consent of both parties: – Unfair discrimination – Other disputes that must usually be referred to the LC. – Individual contract-type disputes, including payment and unresolved BCEA disputes – Broader facilitation on process that could lead to disputes, where independent facilitation is not used Cost of the PS Councils Cost per referral is Need to address relatively low. regular increase in Costs per referral income: eg reduced : automatic levy – Screening of cases by increase in ELRC, the Secretary, ensuring linked to the % that: Clear cases of no salary increases. jurisdiction are referred to correct forum; Incomplete referrals are corrected. – Increase case load in a council such as the GPSSBC. Panels of dispute resolvers (1) Already in place (in Future: some councils): – Ensure adequate annual – Selection of panelists: increases to avoid Use of ‘objective’ criteria erosion of panel in some councils – Use of a senior panel, – Smaller panels, with due where appropriate. attention to quality. – Quality control; Allows panelists to develop Checking quality of better knowledge of the awards sector Focused training of panelists Best method: correct selection; briefings; – Discretionary power for appropriate fees secretaries in some councils to use higher fee-paying panel members Panels of dispute resolvers (2) Communicate principles considered in awards – Post key awards on the internet – Summaries of decisions – Effective search engine Whether to defend applications for reviews in some circumstances? Role of parties and secretariats Parties may have Role of secretariats – Key to effective functioning controlled too of a council – Relationships between closely the process secretariats and parties have grown over the years. of adapting – Still scope for more trust being placed in secretariats, procedures where appropriately skilled. – Negotiators do not always More skill in the have experience in day-to- secretariats and more day problems of dispute confidence by parties in resolution in the councils the secretariat – Long delay in finalizing – to fulfill functions that will streamline dispute review of dispute procedures, such as vetting procedures of applications, appointment of panelists – Important issues not addressed Coordination of DRP in public service councils? Appropriate to have a general core of shared principles and procedures Supplemented with appropriate adaptations for each sector, – Ie appropriate tweaking of procedures Some specific innovations Expedited procedures in the ELRC – Allowing flexibility to bring in conarb when in appropriate. – Panellist selected by secretary, not the parties Pre-dismissal arb – Council paying fully for hearings Compulsory pre-arb meeting in the SSSBC, to avoid postponements Information Improve provision of information to parties and employees Clear description of similarities and differences between different councils, to be readily available. Key principles considered in arbitration awards to be summarised and available to all users.
"Dispute Resolution in the Public Service - PSCBC"