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  • AFSA
  • CCMA
  • Various industry-specific bargaining councils.

Here, a very similar process to the disciplinary hearing will take place. The Arbitrator for the hearing will often become the Arbitration Consultant for the party who won the disciplinary hearing, and a new, independent Arbitrator will be selected to resolve the case.

Labour law course

Careers in Arbitration

While the arbitration process is fairly straightforward, there are slightly different positions that you’ll find yourself in when it comes to working in the field.

  • The Arbitrator

As we’ve already found out, an Arbitrator is the person selected to oversee the proceedings, hear both sides of the story and make a fair, objective decision on which person is in the right.

The Arbitrator is presented with each party’s claim, and has to review evidence, which can comprise of documents, CCTV footage, or witness statements. Once both sides have had their say, the Arbitrator makes their decision, and the arbitration comes to an end.

The Arbitrator will then give out the Arbitration Award (the final decision) within 30 days of chairing an arbitration hearing.

Arbitrators can either be chosen personally by clients (although this needs to be mutually agreed upon by both parties), or they can be selected by the organisation through which the dispute claim has been filed.

  • The Arbitration Consultant

The Arbitration Consultant duties are slightly different to those of an Arbitrator. The Arbitration Consultant is an expert is the provincial and national labour law and practices, and is often hired by one of the parties in order to assist with drafting of agreements, preparation of evidence and advising on the arbitration process. The Arbitration Consultant is often not involved in the actual arbitration process, but helps to ensure that their client is as prepared as possible, and confident about going into the proceedings.

An Arbitration Consultant represents the company in discussions with government agencies and Trade Unions. They are also often hired by companies to train management on proper implementation of disciplinary and poor performance procedures.

Other duties you may perform as an Arbitration Consultant include:
  • Giving management advice on promoting a stable labour relations business environment
  • Conducting Industrial Relations risk assessments
  • Proposing solutions to risks
  • Investigate labour disputes upon request to ensure the procedures comply with labour legislation
  • Submit monthly IR reports to management
  • Assess and update company policies and procedures

Arbitration consultants are chosen and hired by the client, as an extra to the arbitration process.

  • Best of Both Worlds

As a person qualified to be an Arbitrator, knowledgeable about labour laws and procedures, you are likely to have a good knowledge of how the arbitration system works, and can work as both an Arbitrator or an Arbitration Consultant, and will most likely end up doing bit of both at the same time. It all depends on the needs of the client, and which role they need fulfilled. You may be contacted by a client or an organisation looking for an Arbitrator, or you may be contacted by a business who needs a consultant.

As an Arbitration Consultant, you will most likely have regular clients who rely on you to keep them informed and up to date on legislative practices, and to make sure they are in line in terms of labour law.

While there are independent Arbitration Consultants that work as both consultant and Arbitrators, many Arbitration Consultants begin their careers by finding employment at an Industrial and Labour Relations company. These are organisations that companies can approach when they require help resolving a dispute.

Labour law course