Rights dispute: The difference between disputes of right and disputes of interest is very important.

Dispute of right

Disputes of ‘right’, such as dismissal disputes, are finally resolved by arbitration in the CCMA or bargaining council, or adjudication in the labour court.

Dispute of interest

Disputes of ‘interest’, such as wage disputes, are resolved by what is called a ‘power-play’ by the parties and involves striking or locking out if the parties cannot agree to settle the dispute.  Clearly, the parties are also encouraged to agree to have the dispute resolved by some form of private arbitration, such as pendulum or ”final offer’ arbitration.

Method of resolving the dispute

So the method of resolving the dispute as provided in the LRA determines whether it is treated as a dispute of ‘right’ or ‘interest’.  In a ‘free’ market economy it would be wrong to prevent employers and employees from resolving their own disputes unless damage can be done to others who are not affected by the dispute.