Job Details

  • Reference number: UFH4
  • Province: Eastern Cape
  • Type of engagement: Permanent appointment
  • Posted: July 29th

Background to Position

The Human Resources (HR) department at UFH is seeking to fill the post of Manager: Employee Relations

This position has strategic oversight and responsibility for the HR department’s employee relations function which include:


  • Leading, directing, managing and coordinating the activities of Employee Relations (ER) function and including the development, review and implementation of an effective and sound ER strategy and related policies, procedures and agreements;
  • Building and managing sound and constructive relationships with the unions;
  • Being the university’s chief negotiator for purposes of bargaining for  Administrative Support Staff  and ensuring support for the university’s chief negotiator for bargaining for academic staff; and ensuring the provision of effective ER services to a wide range of stakeholders, including direct support to the Executive and senior management.


Applications for this position is invited from candidates with a strategic outlook and experience in designing and implementing a proactive, effective employee relations strategy, policies and service. This will include the revision of existing and the development and implementation of new sound, aligned and effective employee relations policies and procedures. The incumbent must have the ability to provide proactive, on-site leadership, direction and guidance and be visible and present in leading and navigating the complexities associated with the employee relations landscape, towards positive outcomes.

Job Description

Responsibilities Include:

  • Accountable for leading, designing, implementing and managing the overall provision of a value-add employee relations service
  • Accountable for developing, reviewing and implementing an effective and sound ER strategy and related policies, procedures and agreements
  • Be the lead person in negotiations and engagements with trade unions and other representative 
  • Ensure that the necessary research into economic, wage and relevant data is conducted and available for bargaining purposes
  • Own and build the key relationship with trade unions and all relevant internal and external stakeholders to enable a culture of collaboration and shared goals
  • Navigate, in a constructive manner, the complexities and conflict which may arise to ensure shared ownership in the best interest of UFH
  • Be an active visible leader, manager and coach to staff within the HR ER area
  • Prepare and manage the annual budget for the HR ER function
  • As part of the HR management team play an active role in embedding the HR Client Centric Service Model
  • Champion and lead transformation in the ER section and HR department
  • Be a visible role model for the values and behaviours of UFH and the HR department

Inherent Criteria

Minimum Requirements:

  • An relevant legal qualification
  • A minimum of 7 years’ relevant knowledge and experience in ER, of which a minimum of 3 years should be at a senior management level
  • Demonstrated experience in leading bargaining teams and processes in a complex environment
  • Sound track record of effective negotiation and consultation skills, in particular be able to advise on the legal, reputational and financial aspects related to bargaining
  • Proactive approach to leading and managing employee relations service and matters
  • Excellent client, service and people orientation and ability to build constructive and effective relationships
  • Sound experience in designing, developing, reviewing and implementing employee relations policies, programmes and services
  • Relevant experience in people, resource, project and change management
  • Good working and theoretical knowledge of current legislation, policies governing HR practice and industry best practice
  • Experience in creating effective communication platforms to drive effective service delivery


Definite advantage

  • A qualification specialising in Labour Relations
  • Higher Education or similar institutional experience
  • A good understanding of the legislative framework governing tertiary education institutions, including the Higher Education Act and the policies, procedure
  • Knowledge of University’s policies & procedures, including an understanding of the University’s committee structures and decision-making bodies and processes

Application Requirement

  • CV
  • Cover Letter
  • ID/passport
  • Certified copies of qualifications
  • Proof of remuneration
  • Three work-related referees

About University of Fort Hare

The University of Fort Hare is a public university in Alice, Eastern Cape, South Africa. It was a key institution of higher education for black Africans from 1916 to 1959 when it offered a Western-style academic education to students from across sub-Saharan Africa, creating a black African elite.