The AHI Employers' Organisation has the same rights and obligations as that of a trade union. This means that employers' organisations also have the right to negotiate with the workforce on behalf of members and to enter into collective agreements with trade unions. Furthermore, employers' organisations may become members of and participate in the activities of bargaining councils and statutory councils, and may act in any dispute in which a member is involved. It is in this regard, especially, that employers' organisations provide an important service to members at grassroots level.
Legal practitioners have full power to represent a client in the Labour Court, but only limited power to appear before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (or CCMA as it is commonly known). As a general rule, legal practitioners may not appear before the CCMA in cases concerning dismissal on the grounds of misconduct or incapacity. However, most labour disputes are centered around these issues. The AHI Employers' Organisation allows it to act on behalf of members before the CCMA and even in the Labour Court.
As trade unions are allowed to employ legal practitioners, if often happens that, especially smaller employers, come up against a seasoned legal practitioner in a labour dispute. Employers often lose their case - not because the case is weak - but because of a lack of legal representation.
Employers' organisations may also generally, in the broadest sense, be used to regulate and facilitate relations between employers and employees by, for example, conducting research and providing training.
THIS IS HOW YOU JOIN THE EMPLOYERS' ORGANISATION:
1. You pay a service fee to the AHI of R450 per member per year;
2. Thereafter you become a member of the AHI Employers' Organisation at a membership fee of R130.00 per year.
Should you wish to represent members, you are required to apply for accreditation from the AHI Employers' Organisation, and should you be accredited / approved, an amount of R2 900.00 is payable per company.
SHOULD YOU APPLY FOR ACCREDITED MEMBERSHIP, THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS REQUIRED, AMONG OTHERS:
Qualifications of professional personnel
Proof of qualifications and of admission to professional body
Infrastructure of company/organisation
Information with regard to experience; and
Completed indemnity form
A panel from among its members of jurists and other experts is now being constituted to take care of the interests of fellow members involved in labour disputes. Some of the panel members will even be able to assist and represent members in collective wage negotiations with trade unions.