Employers may, more often than not, be in the dark on whether they need to be registered with a particular Bargaining Council. This article will attempt to shed some light on the topic and answer an important question we have faced: whether an employer falling under the scope of a particular Bargaining Council is obliged to register even if their employees do not want to be registered with the particular Council?


There are a number of Bargaining Councils in South Africa that have been created for certain sectors. Most employers can determine whether they need to register with a Bargaining Council based solely on the name of the particular Bargaining Council, for example, the Motor Industry Bargaining Council or the Building Industries Council. However, for some companies it might not be as straight forward. Some companies might not be aware that the work they are doing or the services they are rendering falls within the scope of a particular Bargaining Council. They may only be faced with the issue when an agent for the particular Bargaining Council comes to visit or they receive a compliance notice from a Bargaining Council.


If you, as an employer and a member of CEO are not registered with a Bargaining Council and want to confirm whether you should be registered before any Council decides to take steps against you, contact any CEO official in your region. It may be as simple as to check the scope in the Main Agreement of a particular Council.


A question that we have faced from some employers has been whether they should still register their employees with the relevant Bargaining Council, even if their employees do not want to be registered?  Some employers are faced with a situation where their employees do not want to be registered because of the deductions that have to be made from the employees’ salary every month for the Council fees and levies and Pension Fund etc. Unfortunately, even if the employees are not happy with being registered at the Council, an employer who falls under the scope of a Bargaining Council must register with the Council.


Registration is not voluntary for employer or employee. An employer may be faced with having to pay penalties to a Council for not registering an employee with the Council. Managing and running a business is tough enough without these issues.


Article by Liaan Murray

CEO Dispute Resolution Official – East London