Cape Town firefighters demand overtime pay, deliver warning to City ahead of fire season

2019-09-26 17:24
Firefighters from various stations in Cape Town are demanding that they be paid for overtime work. (Kamva Somdyala, News24)

Firefighters from various stations in Cape Town are demanding that they be paid for overtime work. (Kamva Somdyala, News24)

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The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has warned the City of Cape Town that, with fire season fast approaching, it would have to make do with less firefighters, as they called for a boycott of overtime work without pay.

At the same time, the union has made it clear that firefighters are not after a salary increase, but rather want to get paid for overtime work. 

Firefighters marched in the Cape Town CBD on Thursday.

Samwu's Sebenzile Kiva said 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.

"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," Kiva said. 

The union has also promised that come October 1, f

Samwu’s Sebenzile Kiva said firefighters end up working anything between 72 to 80 hours per week. (Kamva Somdyala, News24)

The union has also promised that come October 1, firefighters will work normal shifts and make themselves unavailable for overtime duties.

'It's not a threat'

"It’s almost fire season," one union official said, while addressing the crowd. "It’s not a threat. It is what it is."

A memorandum which was intended for city manager Lungelo Mbandazayo is still being withheld by the union as he failed to show up to receive the list of demands.

As a consequence, union members and firefighters have written a letter to Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi, requesting that he intervene in the battle between firefighters and the City of Cape Town.

Chief among their demands is for the minister to direct the City to enforce the conditions of the the Employment Act, and that his office conducts "proactive inspections of payroll and other records, including a review of employment practices".

The City has since responded to the march, labelling some of the demands as a "misinformation campaign".

UPDATE: Firefighters engaged in 'misinformation campaign' about overtime pay - City

Read more on:    city of cape town  |  samwu  |  firefighters  |  protest
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