An arbitration award issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is final and binding on the employer and the employee. It is not an Order of the Labour Court, but may be enforced (subject to certain procedures being complied with) as if it were an order of the Labour Court [section 143 (1) Labour Relations Act (LRA)]. This does not apply to an advisory award.
When the award is a financial or monetary award in favour of the employee, it often is the case that the employer refuses to comply with the terms of the award. What does the employee do?
It must be noted that, in terms of section 143(3) of the LRA, an award can only be enforced (as if it were an order of the Labour Court) when the award has been certified by the Director of the CCMA.
Therefore, when an employer refuses to voluntarily comply with the award, the employee must apply to the CCMA by completing a Form 7.18 (Application to certify CCMA award & Writ of Execution). A copy of the award must be attached to the Form LRA 7.18. There are no time limitations on this process.
The employee must make a written statement to certify that the award has been served on the respondent party (employer) and must accompany the Form LRA 7.18. The service of the award on the employer is carried out by the employee, and proof of service is required – a fax transmission slip, registered letter slip, signature or something of that nature.
The statement should include certifying that the respondent has failed to comply with the requirements of the award. Part 3 of the Form is a Writ of Execution, which must be completed by the employee. The Writ is handed to the Sheriff, who will proceed to the premises of the employer, and attach movable property that will be sold and the proceeds paid to the employee in terms of the award.