Firefighters: ‘solution close’

2011-07-13 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality administrator Sibusiso Sithole is expected to be fully briefed today about the grievances of 129 personnel attached to the fire and rescue unit who are demanding to be paid R1 151 012,10 for overtime they worked last year.

Firefighters cannot go on a legal stay-away, but have booked off sick to press home their demand.

For a decade fire fighters were paid double their hourly rate for working overtime on Sundays. However, when administrators took over the municipality last year the contract, signed by the Labour Department, the municipality and unions, was rescinded.

Msunduzi spokesperson Brian Zuma said yesterday that fire and rescue management, unions and management met to discuss the concerns of the staff, and they are close to a solution.

Sithole will meet the firefighters after he is briefed.

“While these engagements are taking place we are again appealing to the firefighters to do the responsible thing and go to work.

“Any illegal stay-away from work means no work, no pay,” said Zuma.

Meanwhile, firefighters who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity said yesterday there are not enough fire officers stationed at Pietermaritzburg Airport to react to emergencies.

They alleged that the airport has a skeleton staff of two firefighters as opposed to the normal six per shift.

Zuma dismissed the allegation. “We always station six firefighters 24 hours a day at the airport.

“We have a service agreement with the uMgungundlovu District Municipality fire services to assist us when needed.

“n top of that we have an emergency plan for the airport, which we have not activated at all,” added Zuma.

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