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Grievance procedures for PASS (Professional, Administrative Support & Service) staff

General | Procedure for an individual grievance | Procedure for a group grievance |
Attendance at grievance hearings (group and individual) procedure | Relation between the grievance and disciplinary procedures

  1. General
    1. A grievance is any dissatisfaction and/or feeling of injustice in connection with a staff member's work and/or employment situation (other than conditions of service and salary range, and other than arising from disciplinary action) which is brought to the attention of management.
    2. The University of Cape Town (hereinafter "the University") and the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers Union (hereinafter "the Union") on the one hand, and the University and the UCT Employees Union (hereinafter "the UCTEU") on the other hand, agree bilaterally in each case that it is in their mutual interest to observe a grievance procedure by which all grievances can be considered and resolved. To this end the grievance procedure below is agreed.
    3. No staff member shall be victimised as a result of his/her raising a grievance.
    4. The intention of the University and the Union/UCTEU is that grievances shall be resolved at the earliest stage possible and as quickly as possible. The time periods specified below are maximum time periods, to be utilised to the full only where the complexity of the grievance requires the full use thereof.
    5. Where it is impracticable to address a grievance within the time limit set out in the procedure, an extension can be agreed between the staff member lodging the grievance and the supervisor/manager. Such an extension must be recorded in writing and signed by both parties.
    6. All time periods refer to full working days. "Day" means, for the purposes of determining time periods in this agreement, any day except Saturdays, Sundays and University holidays.
    7. A member of staff with a grievance may be assisted throughout the procedure by a staff member representative, shop steward (in the case of the Union) or another UCT staff member acting as his/her representative. Any shop steward with a grievance may be represented by an official of the Union/UCTEU.
      1. The University shall allow a reasonable amount of time off work to a staff member with a grievance and his/her representative for tasks related to the resolution of the grievances (preparation time as well as attendance at grievance hearings).
      2. Prior approval for time off work must be obtained from the relevant supervisor(s).
    8. The University and the Union/UCTEU recognise the difference between an individual grievance and a group (or collective) grievance, and procedures for each are detailed below.
    9. Where a staff member's (or group of staff members') grievance arises from racism, racial discrimination or racial harassment, he/she/they may elect to follow either the procedures detailed below, or the procedure outlined in the University policy on racism and racial harassment. Where a grievance arises out of sexism, gender discrimination or sexual harassment, the staff member/s may elect to follow either the procedures detailed below, or the procedure outlined in the policy and procedure on sexual harassment.
  2. Procedure for an individual grievance
    1. Stage one (informal stage)

      If a member of staff wishes to raise a grievance he/she shall approach his/her immediate line manager at which point an attempt must be made to resolve the grievance at this level. Should the grievance relate to the actions of the immediate line manager, the staff member should approach their departmental/faculty human resources practitioner who will facilitate an attempt to seek a resolution to the matter. If the staff member so wishes, he/she may obtain the assistance of a representative. Two days will be allowed for this stage.

    2. Stage two (formal stage)

      If the grievance has not been resolved informally, the staff member may take the grievance further and formalise the process by now completing the grievance form. The staff member shall send the form to his/her senior, and a copy to the Employee Relations section of the Human Resources Department within three days of the end of stage one.

      Within two days of receipt of the grievance form, a meeting of the following people will be convened by the senior to whom the form was sent

      1. a chairperson (who shall be a supervisor/manager more senior than the immediate senior)
      2. the staff member lodging the grievance
      3. the staff member's representative (if requested by the staff member)
      4. the staff member's immediate senior.

      The chairperson, may, if he/she deems it appropriate, suggest to the parties to the grievance to attempt to resolve the grievance through mediation in accordance with the University's Mediation policy. Mediation may also be suggested by any of the parties to the grievance at any stage of the grievance process. No party is under any obligation to accept an invitation to mediation, and no negative inference or consequences may incur from such refusal. An attempt at resolving the issues through mediation does not cancel the grievance unless the employee who lodged the grievance agrees that it has been resolved and the terms of the agreement has been reduced to writing. In the event that the mediation process is unable to resolve the issues that gave rise to the grievance, the grievance procedure will recommence at the stage it was put on hold to attempt resolution through mediation.

      If the staff member's representative is a Union/UCTEU staff member representative, a message for the representative may be left at the Union office (3131) / UCTEU office (2380). From the date of this meeting, up to three days will be allowed for a resolution to be achieved before proceeding to the next stage. The chairperson's decision will signify the end of stage two. The chairperson will complete the relevant section of the grievance form and return the original form to the staff member who submitted it, together with his/her report on the grievance and his/her proposal regarding resolving the grievance.

    3. Stage three

      In the three days following the end of stage two, should the staff member wish to take the grievance further, he/she should send the grievance form to the senior of the chairperson at stage two, and a copy to the Employee Relations section. Within three days of the receipt of the grievance form a meeting of the following people will be convened by the supervisor/manager to whom the form was sent:

      1. the chairperson (a manager senior to the chairperson in stage two. Guideline level: HOD)
      2. the staff member lodging the grievance
      3. the staff member's representative (if requested by the staff member)
      4. the full-time Union representative (if requested by the staff member)
      5. the staff member's senior (if presence required)
      6. a representative from the Employee Relations section
      7. any other staff member(s) the chairperson wishes to invite in order to facilitate the resolution of the grievance, subject to the consent of the staff member with the grievance.

      From the date of this meeting, up to three days will be allowed for a resolution to be achieved before proceeding to the next stage.

      The chairperson's decision will signify the end of stage three. The chairperson will complete the relevant section of the grievance form and return the original form to the staff member who submitted it, together with his/her report on the grievance and his/her proposal regarding resolving the grievance.

    4. Stage four

      In the three days following the end of stage three, should the staff member wish to take the grievance further, he/she should send the grievance form to the Registrar, and a copy to the Employee Relations section. The Registrar (or the Registrar's nominee) will review the case. If the Registrar appoints a nominee, the staff member with the grievance and his/her representative (if applicable) will be advised accordingly. If deemed necessary by the Registrar (or nominee) to establish further facts about the case, a meeting will be convened within five days of receipt of the grievance form. The meeting will consist of:

      1. the chairperson (the Registrar or the Registrar's nominee)
      2. the staff member lodging the grievance
      3. the staff member's representative (if requested by the staff member)
      4. the full-time Union/UCTEU representative (if requested by the staff member) and/or an external Union official (if requested by the staff member)
      5. the staff member's immediate senior (if presence required)
      6. a representative from the Employee Relations section
      7. any other staff member(s) the chairperson wishes to invite in order to facilitate the resolution of the grievance (subject to the consent of the staff member with the grievance)

      From the date of this meeting five days will be allowed for a resolution to be achieved. The chairperson's decision will signify the end of the grievance procedure. The chairperson will complete the relevant section of the grievance form and return the original form to the staff member who submitted it, together with his/her report on the grievance and his/her proposal regarding resolving the grievance. If the Union/UCTEU believes that circumstances warrant it, they may hereafter raise the issue in terms of the dispute procedure.

  3. Procedure for a group grievance
    1. Where it is evident that two or more staff members have the same grievance, the staff members may elect to have the grievance dealt with as one.
    2. The group will elect spokespersons who will act for the group. If the group consists of
      1. eight or less staff members, they may elect one spokesperson.
      2. nine to 25 staff members, they may elect two spokespersons.
      3. 26 or more staff members they may elect three spokespersons.
    3. One of the following procedures may be chosen:
      1. Where it is evident that two or more staff members in the same section within the same department have the same grievance, the grievance may be addressed via the grievance procedure detailed in clause 2 of this agreement. Alternatively, the procedure below may be followed.
      2. Where it is evident that two or more staff members have the same grievance but the staff members concerned do not come from the same section, the grievance may be taken, as an agenda item, to the consultative meeting.
      3. Notwithstanding the procedure in 3c i or 3c ii, in the case of a group grievance, a meeting may be convened within three days of line management and the Employee Relations section being sent a grievance form. This meeting would comprise the elected spokesperson(s) (as defined in 3b) and their representative (if requested by the staff members), and management representatives.
    4. If the Union/UCTEU believes circumstances warrant it, the Union/UCTEU may hereafter raise the issue in terms of the dispute procedure.
  4. Attendance at grievance hearings (group and individual) procedure

    A member of staff who is the subject of the grievance shall not be required to attend a grievance hearing with all parties present against his/her will. In cases where the aggrieved party and the person who is the subject of the grievance are in a close working relationship (either in a line relation or as part of the same team) the chairperson of the grievance meeting may ask both parties to be present with the aim of resolving the problem/conflict. Where the staff member who is the subject of the grievance wishes to respond separately, such meetings will be arranged. Both parties shall be required to be present at a follow-up meeting at which the chairperson shall table his/her proposed resolution of the matter. Both parties may agree to discuss the proposed resolution at that meeting, but this is not a requirement.

     

  5. Relation between the grievance and disciplinary procedures

    Grievances are often the result of a misunderstanding between two or more parties and misconduct is not necessarily involved. Should, however, a grievance be brought to the attention of management and, after investigation, management is satisfied that there is evidence of misconduct on the part of the staff member who is the subject of the grievance, the matter shall be handled in terms of the disciplinary procedure. The staff member who lodged the grievance may be asked to be a witness at the disciplinary enquiry. The decision to invoke the disciplinary procedure shall mark the end of the grievance procedure.

Page last updated: 6 March 2015