Collective Bargaining is a crucial aspect of Labour Law in South Africa. It involves negotiations between Employers and Employees or their respective representative bodies, with the aim of reaching an agreement on the terms and conditions of employment. 

Employers are often represented in these negotiations by Employers Organisations, such as CEO. One question that often arises is, “Why do Employers Organisations request mandates from their Members for Collective Bargaining purposes?” 

Firstly, it is essential to understand what a mandate is. A mandate, in this context, is an instruction or authority given by an Employer to their representative body, such as an Employers Organisation, to negotiate on their behalf. The mandate specifies the parameters for negotiations and sets out the Employer’s priorities and objectives. Essentially, it is a way for the Employer to ensure that their interests are protected and adequately represented in the negotiations.

So, why do Employers Organisations request mandates from their Members for Collective Bargaining purposes? There are several reasons for this. Firstly, it allows for a more efficient and effective negotiation process. When Employers Organisations have a clear understanding of their Members’ priorities and objectives, they can negotiate with greater confidence and clarity. This can lead to quicker and more successful negotiations, as there is less ambiguity about what each party is looking for.

Secondly, mandates help to ensure that Employers Organisations are accountable to their Members. By seeking a mandate, the Employers Organisation is demonstrating that they are acting on behalf of their Members and that their negotiating position is based on the priorities and objectives of those Members. This can help build trust and confidence between the Employers Organisation and their Members, as well as provide transparency and accountability.

Thirdly, mandates help to avoid conflicts of interest. Employers Organisations often represent a diverse group of Employers with different priorities and objectives. By seeking a mandate from each Employer, the Employers Organisation can ensure that they are not placing the interests of one Member above another. This can help to prevent disputes and disagreements between Members of the Organisation and can also help to avoid legal challenges to the negotiating process.

Finally, it is a requirement that a Trade Union or Employers Organisation must have a mandate from its Members before it can engage in Collective Bargaining on their behalf. This requirement ensures that the Collective Bargaining process is democratic and that the Members’ interests are adequately represented.

In conclusion, Employers Organisations requesting mandates from their Members for Collective Bargaining purposes is an essential aspect of Labour Law in South Africa. It helps to ensure efficient and effective negotiations, promotes accountability and transparency, avoids conflicts of interest, and is a legal requirement. As Employers, it is important to understand the significance of mandates in the Collective Bargaining process and to ensure that they are obtained and used appropriately.

Article by Su-Mari Kemp 

Dispute Resolution Official at Consolidated Employers Organisation (CEO SA)