Urgent interdict granted against Joburg firefighters

2015-07-22 12:23
Johannesburg firefighters in the Labour Court. (Adam Wakefield, News24)

Johannesburg firefighters in the Labour Court. (Adam Wakefield, News24)

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Johannesburg - An interim interdict sought by the City of Johannesburg to ensure that firefighters go back to work was granted in the Labour Court on Wednesday morning.

The city's lawyer Charles, Beckenstrater, told reporters outside the court that the order, an interim one at present, was signed by Judge Annelie Basson and was being written up for the respective parties.

"The interim interdict has been granted. The conduct of not working after 4pm has been interdicted," Beckenstrater said.

"It's already been made by the court and they are drawing up the pieces of paper. In the meantime people must go back to work. We from the city hope they don't come back to court, and the matter is resolved prior to coming back to court."

The firefighters' lawyer Hosea Munyai indicated the his clients would file answering affidavits by July 29. The city was expected to reply by August 5, with a court date set to follow.

City says firefighters on go slow

On Monday, city emergency management services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said firefighters were on a "go slow", demanding overtime for the extra two hours they work per day.

Their demand for overtime has been referred to arbitration, he said.

In the meantime, in the hours that they don't work, staff who are normally station-bound - such as station commanders, supervisors and managers - are responding to call-outs.

Mulaudzi explained that the firefighters normally worked 48 hours a week, with four-day shifts of two days on and two days off.

To make up the 48 hours, they worked an extra two hours a day.

However, they want to be paid for those extra hours, and are currently only prepared to put in 40 hours a week, unless they are paid overtime for the extra hours.

The dispute had been discussed in a bargaining council, and had been referred for arbitration, Mulaudzi said.

Firefighters representative Dan Motsoeneng, a firefighter based at the Turfontein fire station, told News24 at the court that firefighters were working in accordance with the conditions stated in their contracts, being 40 hours a week. 

He also disputed the city's description of their action as a strike or go-slow.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  strikes  |  labour  |  fires

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