Answer to a question from a reader

How can I collect my UIF if my employer refuses to register with NBCRFLI?

The short answer

An employer is legally required to register with the specific bargaining council that applies to the employer’s main scope of work. If the employer does not comply they can be fined.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

Is there is something I can do to get the money sent to the NBCRFLI (National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry) after reconciliation with my previous employer? The NBCRFLI refuses to give me the money, because they say that my employer refuses to register with them. I have been waiting for the money since March last year. 

The long answer

First, an employer is legally required to register with the specific bargaining council that applies to the employer’s main scope of work. That is in order to ensure that the employer complies with the terms and conditions set out in the main collective agreement of the bargaining council. If the employer does not comply with those terms and conditions, they can be fined.

But an article by points out that every bargaining council’s collective agreement will include an exemption clause which allows the employer to apply for exemption. This is for when employers face difficulties in complying with the agreement. The employer has to motivate in detail the reason for applying for an exemption.

You state in your email that NBCRFLI says it cannot pay you out because your previous employer refuses to register with it. That is not the same thing as applying for exemption from the collective bargaining agreement. So, if your employer is not registered with the NBCRFLI, they would seem to be breaking the law. 

I am presuming that the NBCRFLI conducted a dispute settlement / reconciliation between you and your previous employer, which resulted in your previous employer sending the required sum of money to the NBCRFLI, and I presume that this money was intended to be paid over to you. But I cannot understand the grounds on which the NBCRFLI is refusing to pay you, that is, that your employer refuses to join the bargaining council, because you as a former employee, have no power to compel your previous employer to join the bargaining council. It seems to me that you are being unjustly and wrongfully deprived of the money that you are owed, for reasons that are not within your power to change.

If your previous employer did indeed pay reconciliation money to the NBCRFLI, you should get proof from the employer that he paid the reconciliation money to them, with details of the amount, the date etc. You should then take this proof and all of the details about your reconciliation case to the NBCRFLI once more and ask to speak to the case manager that dealt with your case. Ask the case manager to explain how it can be right to punish you for your previous employer’s refusal to join the bargaining council by withholding the money you are owed, and ask him or her to assist you in getting the money you are owed.

If the case manager does not assist you, you could approach the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) and ask them to intervene. 

These are the CCMA’s contact details:

These are the CCMA’s contact details:

Call Centre: 086 116 1616



​You could also approach Legal Aid to assist you. They are a means-tested organisation that must assist people who cannot afford a lawyer.

Here are their contact details:

You could also contact the Black Sash for free paralegal advice: 

  • Black Sash Helpline for free paralegal advice: 072 663 3739

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Feb. 9, 2023, 9:38 a.m.

See more questions and answers

Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.