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What happens if you fail to settle a dispute at conciliation?

by , 14 October 2014
CCMA Conciliation is one of the many dispute resolution procedures available for you to use.

At conciliation, a Commissioner meets with you and your employee to find ways of settling the dispute. No formal evidence is led and the Commissioner can't make a decision on your behalf. It's just a meeting where you can negotiate to try and settle the dispute.

Now the big question is: What happens if you fail to settle a dispute at conciliation?

Read on to find out the answer so you'll know how to proceed.


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If there's no settlement agreement at conciliation, the following will happen


If you fail to settle a dispute at conciliation and the Commissioner issues a certificate of outcome, the case can be referred to:

  • Arbitration, if it must be determined by the CCMA; or
  • The Labour Court, if it can't be decided by the CCMA.

You must ensure the certificate of outcome contains these points:

  • The names of the parties;
  • The date on which the dismissal occurred, if applicable;
  • Whether condonation has been granted, if applicable;
  • The date of the conciliation and the date when the dispute remained unresolved. These will usually be the same date, unless you and your employee have taken a few days to consider the possibility of a settlement;
  • The nature of the dispute; and
  • Which forum the dispute can be referred to if taken further i.e. the CCMA or Labour Court.

Now that you know what happens if you fail to settle a dispute at conciliation, why not take the time to read this article. It reveals the number one reason you should settle your dispute at conciliation.

For more information on CCMA Conciliation, get your hands on a copy of CCMA for Managers.


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