Government delay in paying court awards comes at a cost
GOVERNMENT departments are largely tardy when it comes to adhering to arbitration awards that the Labour Courts issue against them in disputes with employees.
Public Service Commissioner Moira Marais-Martin said yesterday that while non-implementation was not on a huge scale, there was an increase in litigation costs for successful applicants.
Marais-Martin said government departments often displayed an unhealthy level of hostility towards aggrieved employees‚ despite the fact that employees had the right to resist unfair labour practices.
The PSC report said government departments incurred arbitration awards to the value of R166-million between 2013 and last year and R94-million in compensation costs.
However, many departments did not comply with arbitration orders‚ which drove costs even higher.
“If there is non-implementation‚ then interest is incurred. Once the PSC completed the study, we found that some departments could spend as much as R1.8-million on interest for delaying to pay the amounts due‚” Marais-Martin said.
The PSC recommends‚ among other things‚ that government departments develop an overarching policy framework to assist where awards are allocated so that they do not contravene any of the prescripts of labour law.
“No one is held accountable for the financial losses incurred by affected departments as a result of non-implementation.”
Marais-Martin said the report would be sent to the Department of Public Service and Administration for further consultation and discussion.