In terms of the resolution of disputes under auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, the Commissioner has been granted certain powers when attempting to resolve disputes. Critically discuss the ten (10) powers of the commissioner.
Commissioners are appointed by CCMA governing body to facilitate industrial disputes. In the interest of dispute resolution, a CCMA commissioner has been conferred a wide variety of powers regulated by the LRA. These include the right to:
1. Subpoena documents and witnesses.
2. With authorization, the commissioner has the right to enter and inspect premises where a relevant document or other object has to be found, remove and inspect any relevant document or other object, take with them any statement relevant to the matter.
3. Make a finding that a person is in contempt of the CCMA.
During arbitration, commissioners have the power to:
4. Attempt to settle labour disputes amicably with minimum legal formalities. A commissioner tries to resolve labour disputes through conciliation and only results to arbitration hearing or Labour court when it fails.
5. Hear evidence at arbitration hearings. Evidence includes documents and witnesses relevant to the case. Legal representation may be allowed and parties can cross-examine each other.
6. Issue arbitration awards; commissioners decide whether a dismissal is fair or not, and in the case of misconduct, whether a dismissal was the appropriate sanction. The award is the commission’s final and binding decision, made within 14 days after hearing.
7. Award employees compensation or reinstatement in regard to disputes that the LRA allows the CCMA to dispute; they can overturn dismissal with strong reason.
8. Dismiss applications lodged with the CCMA.
9. Make default awards against employers who fail to attend arbitration hearings.
10. Commissioners also have the power to make rulings on matters such as jurisdiction of the CCMA, the right of parties to be represented at arbitration hearings and applications for variation or cancelation of an arbitration award.