The Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now accredited by the CCMA to handle all its disputes. This provides a number of benefits to all stakeholders.
According to Merle Denson, senior case management officer at BCCEI, the accreditation in essence means that companies that are not members of the employer organisation SAFCEC (South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors) or employees who are not members of BCAWU (Building, Construction and Allied Workers Union) or NUM (National Union of Mineworkers), but fall within the civil engineering industry will now derive the same advantages as those companies and employees who are members of these entities.
Effective from 1 September 2015, the accreditation means that companies and employees no longer have to go directly to the CCMA. “Apart from the time saving benefits this offers stakeholders, they are now able to access a panel of skilled professional commissioners with industry specific experience at the BCCEI. Being able to leverage the expertise and knowledge of the panel members will provide stakeholders with a strong and reliable arsenal,” says Denson.
As a completely independent statutory body, the BCCEI provides an unbiased and impartial service to the civil engineering sector. With an extensive reference base across all modalities within the civil engineering sector, BCCEI is able to assist parties with direction and support in line with industry specific standards and guidelines.
Denson points out that although the majority of the cases in the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Vanderbijlpark area will be heard at BCCEI’s state of the art facility in Bedfordview, a skilled CCMA accredited commissioner will be appointed to facilitate the process where this is not feasible or within other regions.
These exceptions would include large long term multi-disciplinary projects where specific site agreements are applied, like Medupi and Kusile, and where party and non-party disputes arise. In this instance, disputes will be heard on site. Denson cautions that, irrespective of the hearing venue, parties need to be aware that once arbitration awards have been made they are final and binding.
“Adding to the time savings applied with the BCCEI’s accreditation, we are able to provide further time saving benefits by allowing employers, at a minimal cost, to refer an inquiry by arbitrator (S188A), previously known as a pre-dismissal arbitration to the BCCEI. This process is intended to take the place of a disciplinary enquiry and takes the hearing straight to arbitration, which is both cost effective and time saving for the parties and it means that the matter cannot be referred to the council for conciliation,” Denson says.
“Other benefits to an inquiry by arbitrator process include the fact that the hearing can be heard at the employer’s premises, at a date and time chosen by the parties and the commissioner can also be chosen by party consent, making the outcome final and binding and if any party is dissatisfied with the outcome, the award can be taken on review to the Labour Court,” she continues.
“For full details on other BCCEI services, we suggest that parties refer to the BCCEI’s website,” Denson concludes.