The Essential Services Committee falls under the CCMA (Commission For Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitrage).
What is an essential service?
An essential service is defined in Section 213 of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA).
In terms of this Section, a service is deemed an essential service if it can be shown that the interruption of such a service would: “endanger the life, personal safety or health of the whole or any part of the population”
It would have to be established that a clear and imminent threat to the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population existed.
In terms of Section 71 (10) of the LRA the parliamentary service and the SAPS are deemed to have been designated as essential services in terms of Section 71.
In addition to these, a number of other services have been determined as essential by the Essential Services Committee.
What is the Essential Service Committee and what are its powers?
The Minister of Labour, after consulting with NEDLAC, establishes an Essential Service Committee (ESC) in terms of Section 70 of the Labour Relations Act. The Powers and functions of the Committee are described in this Section of the Act.
It is mainly to:
- Monitor the implementation and observance of essential service determinations, minimum service agreements, maintenance service agreements and determinations;
- Promote effective dispute resolution in essential services;
- Develop guidelines for the negotiation of minimum services;
- Decide on its own initiative or upon the request of any interested party to institute investigations into whether or not the whole or a part of any service is an essential service;
- Determine whether or not the whole or a part of any service is a maintenance service;
- Establish and appoint three (3) member panels to conduct investigations, designate essential services, determine disputes, ratify and determine Minimum Service Agreements;
- Ratify collective agreements that provides for the maintenance of minimum services in a service designated as an essential service and to determine the minimum services required to be maintained in the service that is designated as an essential service.