Government-wide financial constraints have compelled the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to review its operations and reprioritise spending, the dispute resolution body said in a statement on Tuesday.
This as the CCMA, as with other public institutions, is affected by the limitations in the fiscus.
"It has been noted that a number of articles and statements have been published regarding the CCMA's budget constraints and implications thereof on operations.
"Given that the CCMA's budget is currently undergoing internal review and approval, the CCMA is unable to respond concretely to questions posed by the media at this stage," the dispute resolution body said.
The CCMA added it would issue a detailed statement once the budget had been considered and approved by the governing body, and stakeholders engaged, on Friday 27 November 2020.
"The CCMA remains committed to its legislative mandate to stabilise the labour market and provide expeditious dispute resolution," its director, Cameron Morajane, sad.
BusinessLive reported the CCMA said it would not be able to operate at full capacity due to an upcoming R617 million budget cut.
The publication added Morajane had told the Cosatu collective bargaining conference that finances were so dire, the body had resolved to stop with conciliation and head straight to arbitration.
Following the reports, the Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) said in a statement on Tuesday cancelling conciliation was unlawful, adding it was the only hope for vulnerable workers with no access to legal or union representation to access some of their basic rights.
"Cameron Morajane's plan to send these workers straight into the overly legalistic terrain of arbitration is a clear abandonment of the primary role of the CCMA.
"It is also unlawful; absent an attempt at conciliation, the CCMA lacks jurisdiction to arbitrate the dispute, and the Labour Court may refuse to determine any dispute unless it is satisfied that an attempt at conciliation has been made," the CWAO added.