When conciliation fails, a party may request the CCMA to resolve the dispute by arbitration. At an arbitration hearing, a commissioner gives both parties an opportunity to fully state their cases. The commissioner then makes a decision on the issue in dispute.

The decision, called the arbitration award, is legally binding on both parties. Attempts must generally be made to resolve the dispute through conciliation.

If it cannot be resolved by conciliation, the parties can go to arbitration or the Labour Court, the Act specifies which dispute goes to which process.

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