Govern­ment de­lay in pay­ing court awards comes at a cost

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Khulekani Magubane

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.

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