Preparing for CCMA conciliation? Here's what to consider when it comes to costs
Conciliation is a process that takes place at the CCMA and at bargaining councils. It's a negotiation process where parties try to reach a settlement agreement to resolve the dispute.
A CCMA commissioner (conciliator) facilitates this attempt to reach an 'out of court' settlement.
One of the things you must do when preparing for CCMA conciliation is to consider how much this process will cost your company.
Here's what you must consider...
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Never overlook costs when preparing for CCMA conciliation
The reality is, up to the point of CCMA conciliation
, expenses will probably be minimal. You'll only have to worry about the time you'll spend preparing.
BUT, as matters proceed, costs could add up. These could include:
Preparation time and expenses involved;
Legal fees, if any;
CCMA costs, if any;
Time spent at the conciliation hearing and arbitration hearing;
Costs of preparing transcripts;
Time costs (wages/productivity losses) for management and witnesses; and
The economic costs if the award goes against you, i.e. back pay, reinstatement, etc.
This is quite tricky and each case is different.
That said, the report CCMA for Managers
says, you must ask yourself if you're prepared to consider reinstatement. If not, ask yourself if you're prepared to agree to a financial settlement – particularly if your case is weak. If so, how much?
If the cost of defending the case is excessive, ask yourself how much you're prepared to spend to settle the issue? If your case is weak take the cheaper route – there's no point in spending R100 000 on defence if you can settle and close the matter for R40 000.
Here's the bottom line: Dealing with labour disputes is a costly exercise, so make sure you consider all the above when preparing for CCMA conciliation.