Firefighters from all over Cape Town have united against the City of Cape Town and are refusing to work any more overtime unless they are paid for it. This on the brink of the dry season, where fires are more likely to break out and are far more damaging than during the cooler months.
According to the South African Municipal Worker’s Union (Samwu), firefighters who refused to work outside of their normal working hours were asked to pack their bags and leave.
“We have engaged the City of Cape Town on several forums and, in all of them, they have never come up with a substantial reason why they are refusing to pay firefighters for overtime work,” said Samwu’s Sebenzile Kiva. This led to a public protest march to the Minister of Labour (Parliament) to deliver a memorandum on September 26.
Kiva also told News24 that firefighters were currently employed to work 40 hours a week, but in most cases, they end up working anything between 72 to 80 hours a week. The City of Cape Town released a statement on Firefighters South Africa’s Facebook page saying that “The City of Cape Town notes, with disappointment, the ongoing efforts by the South African Municipal Workers Union to spread misinformation in the public realm about allowances for firefighters”.
Members of the public have responded with various comments on social media, some saying that these firefighters knew the nature of and unpredictable hours in this line of work when they signed up, and others feel that they should indeed be paid for working extra hours like the rest of the working people in the country.