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Basic Guide to Maintenance Service Workers

Basic Guide to Maintenance Service Workers

Employers may apply to have all or part of their business declared a maintenance service.  Maintenance service workers may not strike, and employers may not replace non-maintenance service workers who are legally on strike.


The Labour Relations Act applies to all employers, workers, trade unions and employers’ organisations, but does not apply to –
members of the:

  • National Defence Force;
  • National Intelligence Agency; or
  • South African Secret Service

See (Ref)

Applies to all workers and employers and aims to advance economic development, social justice, labour peace and the democracy of the workplace.

Maintenance Services

Maintenance service workers may not strike.  A maintenance service is when a working area, plant or machinery is physically destroyed if the service is interrupted.  If no collective agreement exists, an employer may apply to an essential services committee to have all or part of his business declared a maintenance service.

Replacement Labour

An employer may not employ anyone to do his workers’ work if –

  • all or part of their work is rendering a maintenance service and non-maintenance workers are taking part in a legal strike; or
  • the workers are locked out, unless the lockout is in response to a strike.

Protest Action

Workers not rendering a maintenance service have the right to take part in protest action, such as legal stayaways, if –

  • the protest action has been called by a registered trade union; and
  • the trade union has given NEDLAC 14 days’ notice.

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Originally appeared on on 30-05-2008. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of estome. estome accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or fairness of the article, nor does the information contained herein constitute advice, legal or otherwise.

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