The Wiehahn Commission

The 1980 reforms allowed black unions to register for the first time and were, as a result, admitted to the state industrial council system as bargaining partners. The Wiehahn Commission had advised against the new jurisdiction being given to the ordinary court. It decided to emulate other countries by opting for specialist courts, thereby identifying with international trends. According to Brassey; Cameron; Cheadle & Olivier (1987:9), "the ordinary courts had the wrong sort of procedure and evidential rules for the purpose, and litigation before them was too slow and costly.

Labour law had, moreover, grown in volume and complexity, and the bench could no longer be expected to have the requisite expertise in the field". The implication here was that the complexity of labour law demanded that a separate court be set-up. People abroad had felt that "countries with labour courts have experienced fewer strikes and have developed their labour law to a greater extent"(Brassey et al, 1987:9). They now had the freedom to strike as long as they complied with the Labour Relations Act. An additional important change was the introduction of an industrial court, which is now called the Labour Court.

2. WORKPLACE FORUMS The CCMA plays an active role in the formation of the workplace forum. In order for the workplace forum to exist, it must satisfy the requirements of section 80 which stipulates that a workplace forum may only be established in a workplace with 100 or more employees. The workplace forum must meet at regular intervals with the employer. At such meetings the employer is under obligation to report on: These forums were introduced through the new Labour Relations Act in order to encourage employee participation in the workplace.

According to More (2003:7), there are various forms of employee participation, i. e. , direct and indirect participation. Direct participation is task-centred and employees participate in decision-making. Indirect participation occurs when elected employee representatives participate in management decision-making. But More(2003:8) emphasizes that employees and their unions are opposed to workplace forums because they promote joint responsibility in management decision-making, unions traditionally oppose managerial decisions. "The new labour law demands that managers establish workplace forums to promote democracy.

But both employees and their unions reject such forums. Unions feel such forums will undermine their role as challengers of management decisions and force them to make joint decisions with management"(More, 2003:12). Its composition is characterized by employee representatives appointed onto the Board of Directors, Worker's Committees, Liaisons Committees, which consist of both management and employee representatives, and finally self managed teams which empower staff to make decisions regarding the job at hand. 3. BARGAINING COUNCILS Powers and Purpose:

They are organizations, registered by the Department of Labour, comprising "one or more registered trade unions and one or more registered employers' organizations"(Anderson & Van Wyk, 1997:97. According to Finnemore and van Rensburg (2000: 278),membership of a bargaining council is on a voluntary basis. Some of basic requirements for setting up a bargaining council are the following: The principal institution of the Labour Relations Act (1995) is the C. C. M. A. , which is created by statute, overseen and augmented by the Labour Court. It "is an independent body created by statute...

One of its functions is to assist employers and employees (over whom it has jurisdiction) to resolve disputes in an expeditious and effective manner, firstly by conciliation and thereafter by arbitration if required to do so by law"(Anderson & van Wyk,2002: 60). The CCMA is not in competition with the Bargaining Council but they have jurisdiction over different areas. According to Anderson and van Wyk (2002:60), the "CCMA is controlled by a governing body on which the state,employers and organized labour have representations all of whom are nominated by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC)".

Although each commissioner's experience varies, uniform training has taken place to ensure adequate level of skills and competence. Conciliation allows the parties to resolve matters between them, and whatever was said between them is private and confidential, and cannot be used or quoted against a party in the event of the negotiations failing. "In some instances, the CCMA has exclusive jurisdiction to conciliate a dispute... The CCMA also has 30 days within which to attempt to attempt to resolve the dispute by conciliation or within any extended period to which the parties agree" (Anderson &van Wyk,2002:64).

Arbitration under the auspices of the CCMA, includes disputes over dismissals for misconduct or incapacity, constructive dismissals and cases where the employee does not know the reasons for dismissal. "A Commissioner can arbitrate only if a certificate has been issued stating that the dispute remains unresolved, and one of the parties has requested arbitration" (Anderson & van Wyk, 2002:68). A party may not appeal the decision of the Commissioner because it is final and binding. It also covers unfair labour practices. The court intervenes in all labour disputes.