Local firefighters are continuing their fight to secure fair pay for over-extended working hours and have rejected the City of Cape Town’s proposed 30% wage increase.
With veld fire season approaching on December 1, firefighters play an integral role in ensuring the safety of individuals and the environment, while working tirelessly and under dangerous conditions to do so.
Firefighters are contesting their current working conditions as they feel they are overworked and underpaid. Firefighters picketed on September 27, calling on the City to improve working conditions.
The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) provincial secretary Sidney Flusk, told IOL that Cape Town’s firefighters declined the City’s offer.
“We rejected the City’s offer of a 30% increase. We are going for less working hours to force the City to offer a bigger percentage,” said Flusk.
Currently, firefighters are on duty for 24-hours of the day, but are only being paid for 16 hours of duty. The representative union, Samwu is calling for firefighters to work fair hours and will not accept the offer presented until the City allocates suitable working conditions.
“We want firefighters to work a 40-hour week, then all additional hours are overtime, with a maximum of 10 hours’ overtime. Then they work a 12-hour shift instead of a 24-hour shift,” said Flusk
Flusk says they are overworked due to the lack of trained firefighters.
“The employer demands they work overtime because the City’s fire and rescue services are understaffed.”
A labour dispute has been lodged and Samwu is awaiting a final date.
A memorandum is expected to be handed over to the Mayor from firefighters at the Epping Fire Station.