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The CCMA’s Job Saving Strategy

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The Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has, as part of its five (5) year Senz’umehluko Strategy, prioritised employment security as one of its strategic drivers of enhancing the labour market to advance stability and growth. The CCMA’s Job Saving Strategy aims to assist businesses in distress in order to save jobs. Employment security is one of the priorities of the National Development Plan (NDP) and an imperative in the eradication of the triple crisis and a multiplying contributor to the wellbeing of our economy.

The CCMA’s holistic approach to job saving, talks to the exploration of alternatives to retrenchments and business closure. This approach seeks to provide guidance and steps for possible action that needs to be taken within the legal framework but outside what is expected. This means having an effective early warning system that is able to trigger steps to be taken where businesses facing distress can be saved. Furthermore, this approach provides effective facilitation of large scale retrenchment processes. Where retrenchments are unavoidable, the approach assists the retrenched workers to access support and survival mechanisms, facilitate sector sustainability initiatives and assist businesses in distress to access enterprise support and harness optimal resources through partnerships.

The CCMA’s approach to job-saving and mitigation of job losses is informed by aspiring to foster highly effective consultation, through the usage of highly skilled and mentored Section 189A Facilitators. To ensure the continued success of this initiative, in 2016, the CCMA introduced the Commissioner Mentoring Programme, which entails that before a Commissioner can preside over Section 189A matters, they will have to undergo the Mentorship Programme specific to Section 189A. This Mentoring Programme is aimed at ensuring that Commissioners are efficiently mentored before they handle Section 189A matters.


Since the inception of this the initiative, the credibility and legitimacy of the CCMA has increased. This is evidenced by the number of referrals received. At the end of November 2017, the CCMA received 344 referrals, of these referrals, 277 were from employers. These numbers are indicative of the changed mind-set of the social partners with regards to the consultation process. From 1 April 2017 to end of November, of the 41 393 employees likely to be retrenched, the CCMA has saved 12 462 jobs. 

Cementing its stance to job saving, the CCMA has entered into a successful strategic partnership with Productivity SA and is currently exploring partnerships with AgriSA and the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) to enhance its early warning systems and provision of survival and support mechanisms to retrenched workers.

The CCMA has also identified a number of opportunities to further give effect to this job saving initiative, including the use of general facilitation concepts which adopt the interventionist approach to small-scale retrenchments. A pilot initiative has also been introduced to address the challenges of small scale retrenchments of businesses employing less than 50 employees. Through this initiative, the businesses will, upon approval by all parties involved, undergo a facilitation process.

The CCMA encourages businesses to approach the CCMA for the various services aimed at assisting businesses in distress and save jobs.

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