What is conciliation?
Conciliation is a process of bringing the two sides in a dispute together after they have reached a deadlock. ‘Deadlock’ means that after trying to negotiate, they still can’t resolve the problem. In conciliation, an independent third party is used to mediate between the two sides. Under the Labour Relations Act, the moderator is a Commissioner from the CCMA or Bargaining Council.
If there is a Bargaining Council covering the sector that the employer works in the dispute will be referred to the BC, and if there is no BC the dispute must be referred to the Commission for conciliation, mediation and arbitration (CCMA)
At the conciliation meeting, the commissioner meets with the two parties to the dispute to find ways to settle the dispute to everyone’s satisfaction.The employer and employee are free to agree to any solution to settle the dispute at a conciliation meeting. A certificate will be issued by the commissioner at the end of the meeting to say whether the dispute has been settled or not. The commissioner must try to resolve the dispute within 30 days of it being referred to the CCMA or Bargaining Council.
If the conciliation is successful, an agreement is reached which both parties must follow. If either party breaks the agreement, the other party may apply to the Labour Court to have the agreement made into a court order.
Employees may be represented by a co-employee, or a trade union office bearer or officialThe employer can be represented by an employee of the business or by a representative of an employers organisation. Attorneys are not permitted, although it will be to your benefit to consult with a labour lawyer before the CCMA hearing.

What happens if attempts at conciliation are unsuccessful?
If the two parties cannot reach an agreement, or the employer refuses to attend the conciliation meeting, the commissioner will issue a certificate stating that the matter has not been resolved.
Each party can then refer the matter for arbitration at the CCMA or adjudication at the Labour Court depending on the nature of the dispute.

Disputes over these matters are referred to the CCMA or Bargaining Council for arbitration:
Unfair labour practices that do not involve discrimination.
Dismissals for acts of misconduct (the employer says the employee did something wrong)
Dismissals for incapacity (the employer says the employee can’t do the work properly)
Severance pay
Disputes concerning organizational rights for a trade union.
Alleged unfair retrenchment where the retrenchment involved an individual employee.
Breach of a collective agreement
Disputes over these matters are referred to the Labour Court for adjudication:
Disputes that involve discrimination
Automatically unfair dismissals

What is arbitration?
Arbitration means the two sides (or parties to the dispute) agree to use a third party to settle a dispute. A third party is someone who is not from the unions or employer’s side. The arbitrator acts as a judge to decide the dispute.
Under the Labour Relations Act, the arbitrator is a commissioner form the CCMA or Bargaining Council. After hearing what both parties have to say, the commissioner can make a ruling that is legally binding and must be accepted as both parties.
If the commissioner decides that the employer was wrong, the commissioner can order the employer to take certain steps or to pay compensation.
Employees can only be represented by a fellow employee, a lawyer where the case does not involve misconduct or incapacity dismissal, union official or union office bearer. Employers can only be represented by a lawyer where the dispute is not a misconduct or incapacity dismissal, an employee of the business, or a representative from an employer’s organisation.
In cases involving dismissal for misconduct or incapacity, lawyers are not allowed unless the commissioner specifically allows this.
Legal Aid will only be granted to an employee in cases where the Labour Relation Act allows for lawyers to be present, and cases where the commissioner specifically allows lawyers.

Can either party appeal against an arbitration award?
There is no appeal against an arbitration award.
But either party may ask the Labour Court to review the arbitrator’s decision, if they think:
The arbitrator exceeded his or her powers
There was something legally wrong in the proceedings
The arbitrator did not consider relevant issues in accordance with the law.
They must ask for a review within 6 weeks of receiving the arbitration decision.



Wood workers, artisans, members of the timber industry, and local and national businesses agree: the third Knysna Timber Festival, which took place from 11-13 November, was an unqualified success.
The Outeniqua FatStix fat bike immediately after it was assembled at the Knysna Timber Festival. The event was created by the Knysna Timber Initiative to revive interest in the timber economy of the Garden Route, which has suffered the closure of numerous saw mills, plantations, and factories – and the resultant loss of thousands of jobs – over the last two decades.
“There was an incredible atmosphere throughout the event – and it’s clear that everyone’s willing to work together to preserve our timber heritage, and to grow the industry in the future,” said the Knysna Timber Initiative’s Jock McConnachie.

A project by the hackers at the Kluyts MakerSpace to build a wooden bicycle and to assemble it in front of Festival-goers in the exhibition tent attracted particular attention.
“None of us had any experience of building bikes, but we did it to highlight the depth of the skills and the talent available here in Knysna,” said project leader John Noble.
“And it turned out to be a great a draw-card for the Festival.”
The Festival also included an up-skilling workshop for local woodworkers.
Conducted by master furniture-maker Richard Henley, and presented with the support of Rotary, Kluyts, and the Knysna Municipality, the 7-day course was timed to end on the last day of the Festival.
“Properly used at the right times, hand tools are often more flexible and faster than machine tools, and this course was designed to show that the use of hand tools isn’t just a romantic idea,” said Mr. Henley.
“The guys saw the course as an opportunity, and they threw themselves into it. One of them was promoted by the factory where he works – from packing recycling materials the previous week, to a semi-skilled position this week.
“And two of them were talking about becoming self-employed in the near future.”

Chloe Bunnett of Tool & Trade, Knysna, was equally up-beat.
Tool & Trade demonstrated the latest thinking in tools and techniques in conjunction with Vermont Sales, which supplies Tork Craft tools and accessories for hobbyists, and the Bexey and Kreg ranges for professionals.
“This is a brilliant way of promoting woodworking and timber, and of showing people what we do – and we’ve had very positive feedback, both during the show and afterwards.
“It’s a great initiative, and we look forward growing with it.”

The Festival was sponsored by Woodoc Food for Wood and Saplings Timber Trading, and was presented with the assistance of G&K Quality Timber Mouldings, Tradelink Wood Products, Knysna & Partners, and the Knysna Municipality.
In an email addressed to Festival coordinator Picca de Bruin, Woodoc’s marketing coordinator, Delray Turner, congratulated the Festival committee on “your fine work, excellent planning and realistic scheduling,” which “resulted in an informative and smooth-running festival.”
“A special thank you to Jock for his wonderful dedication to this event. His enthusiasm, encouragement and vision for reviving and restoring a love for wood is inspiring.”
Knysna & Partners CEO, Greg Vogt, congratulated all participants on the results of the Festival.
“It marked the beginning of a new era for timber, plantation forestry, and conservation forestry in the Southern Cape.
“It showed that there’s enormous goodwill, and a common desire to ensure a prosperous future for the region.
“And since many aspects of the timber economy – from the Garden Route National Park to our fine furniture factories – are also integral to our success as a tourism destination, it bodes well for a sustainable future for our hospitality sector and for our attractions,” he said.
Saplings Timber Trading:
G&K Quality Timber Mouldings
Tradelink Wood Products
Knysna Timber Festival: – THEGREMLIN



Cats can be a wonderful addition to households with children. I have seen cats become the most loved and cherished friend of many children. If you have children and are trying to decide whether or not to add a cat to your family, or if you already have a cat and are bringing a new child into the a family, then this article may be of help. There are several important considerations concerning choosing the right cat at the right time. The article will also explore why cats are sometimes better pets than dogs for small children as well as health concerns for children and cats living in the same household.
As a child, I grew up with cats in the household and as a veterinarian and a father of two small boys that share our home with two cats, I encounter the joys and problems of children and cats on a daily basis.

Choosing the right cat for the right child at the right time.
Bringing a cat into a home with children requires some very serious thought on the part of the parent. I regularly encounter an unhappy owner, or more commonly an unhappy cat that was brought into a family for all of the wrong reasons. Responsible parenting and responsible pet ownership are very similar in that they require 100% commitment from the parent and pet owner. A new kitten is going to initially require time every day for grooming, play, socialization, and training. Children will probably provide plenty of play and socialization but the grooming, litter box cleaning, and training are going to be the responsibility of the parent. Make sure that the entire family is committed to bringing a new pet in the home, otherwise it is not fair to the animal or the family. If parents have any reservations about acquiring a new cat I often discourage them until they have more time or the children are older and can take a more active role in the care of the pet.
Homes with children are often louder and more stressful than homes without them. Choosing a cat or kitten that is more ‘laid back’ is often a good place to start. When I think of the perfect family cat a large, neutered, male, orange, domestic shortair comes to mind. I have often visited a farm and found a similar cat lying contentedly purring in a doll carriage dressed in doll clothes while a smiling five-year-old girl pushes him around the barnyard.
Cats love gentle attention and respond to affection. Small children and as in my case, little boys, are often more interested in chasing the cat than petting him, so if you have active or aggressive children a cat may be too much of a temptation to them and is not going to be a good choice for a pet.
Cats are more mobile than dogs and are able to jump up on a perch and get out of the way of small children. Cats also pose less of a threat of biting or injuring a child, and therefore may make a more suitable choice than a dog for small children. However, remember that some cats will never adapt well to being in a family with children and some children will never appreciate or be able to properly care for a cat. Deciding to bring a cat into a family with children is a very important decision and should not be taken lightly.

Bringing a new cat into a family with children
Once you have made the decision to bring a cat into your home and have picked out the perfect companion for your children, you should spend some time getting your home ready. Go through and cat-proof your home taking special care to eliminate hazards to a small kitten. Designate an easily accessible yet small childproof area for the cats litter box and food. Have a family meeting and make up a list of rules and duties concerning the new cat and hang it on the refrigerator. Because of the responsibility and potential health risk involved with litter boxes, I always recommend that the parent take on the job of cleaning the litter box.
New kittens and cats are going to need several weeks of quiet time when they are first brought into a new home. Limit play to several short sessions a day and make sure the kitten is not bothered when sleeping. A cat door leading into a quiet room with food, water, litter box, and a sleeping area is a great idea for homes with small children.
Decide where the cat is, or more likely is not, allowed to sleep. While there are many advocates of allowing cats to sleep in the bed with their owners, I caution owners of small children against this practice. While the health risks are small, external parasites including fleas and ticks, as well as the ringworm fungus, can be transmitted from cats to people. If children have allergies, then cats should be discouraged from sleeping with them or in their bedrooms.