In the realm of civil engineering, maintaining fairness and stability is paramount. To achieve this, effective dispute resolution is indispensable, and this is where the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) play a vital role in this sector.
Merle Denson, the Dispute Resolution Centre Manager at the BCCEI, stresses that dispute resolution is not only a means to solve conflicts but also a vital aspect of good business management. “It prevents conflicts from escalating, saving both time and money, and additionally, it offers an alternative to costly court proceedings,” she says.
The BCCEI’s Dispute Resolution Centre plays a central role in handling industry-specific disputes, and is accredited by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA). This ensures that disputes are efficiently resolved within legal parameters. The Dispute Resolution Centre boasts a panel of commissioners with deep industry knowledge and experience, guaranteeing expert handling of complex civil engineering issues. Moreover, it prioritises accessibility by scheduling cases regionally, minimising financial burdens and time constraints for parties.
Denson says that in addition to this and in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dispute Resolution Centre also offers online dispute resolution services, enhancing efficiency and reducing costs.
The accessibility of the Dispute Resolution Centre’s services is ensured through a funding mechanism, where employers and employees contribute to the cost of dispute resolution via a monthly levy.
In dismissal cases referred to the Dispute Resolution Centre, the process involves referral, notice of hearing, conciliation, arbitration and potential settlement agreements. Commissioners and arbitrators, appointed by the BCCEI, are crucial in ensuring fair and efficient resolution.
“Effective dispute resolution is vital for the civil engineering industry’s stability and fairness, and the BCCEI and its Dispute Resolution Centre provide accessible, expert and efficient mechanisms for resolving industry-specific disputes, fostering a harmonious work environment,” Denson concludes.
The BCCEI’s primary goals and objectives extend beyond dispute resolution as a bargaining council. Its responsibilities encompass concluding and enforcing collective agreements, preventing and resolving labour disputes, administering dispute resolution functions, establishing and managing funds for dispute resolution, promoting and initiating training and education schemes, developing proposals for labour policies and legislation, providing industrial support services and extending services to non-parties in the industry.