Thiso v Moodley NO (JR2209/13) [2014] ZALCCT 65 (2 December 2014)

Justice Steenkamp has once again in no uncertain terms confirmed that the concept of ‘benefits’ referred to in section 186(2)(a) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 dealing with unfair labour practices includes discretionary management practices.  So the issue of regrading after a job evaluation exercise does not involve a matter or mutual interest but a potential unfair labour practice.  This means that arbitration is the appropriate means of resolving such disputes.

Heard:    6 November 2014       Delivered:       2 December 2014

Summary:       Review – ULP – CCMA jurisdiction – LRA s 186(2)(a).

STEENKAMP J

Introduction

[1]          The applicants referred an unfair labour practice dispute to the CCMA in terms of s 186(2)(a) of the LRA.  The commissioner ruled that the CCMA did not have jurisdiction because the dispute, involving the regrading of the applicants’ posts, concerns a “matter of mutual interest” that should be resolved through collective bargaining and that the CCMA did not have jurisdiction to resolve it through arbitration as an unfair labour practice in terms of s 186(2)(a).  The applicants seek to review that ruling.

Background facts

[2]          The seven applicants are all employed by the third respondent, Rand Water, as “process controllers – desludging” in job category A3.  A job evaluation committee recommended that the position be upgraded to A2.  Rand Water appealed successfully with the result that the jobs remained on A3.