Singing SA firefighters protest over Canada wildfire pay

2016-06-09 10:57
301 South African firefighters will be sent to Canada to help battle a raging wildland fire in Alberta. (Working on Fire, Facebook)

301 South African firefighters will be sent to Canada to help battle a raging wildland fire in Alberta. (Working on Fire, Facebook)

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Latest from SA firefighters in Canada: 'Still 400kms of fire'

2016-06-08 10:50

After almost a week on the fire line in Alberta, Canada, South Africa's crew of firefighters report back on what the conditions, and overall experience has been like. We spoke to Working On Fire's Trevor Wilson over Skype from Winnipeg, Canada. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town - A group of 301 South African firefighters dispatched to aid firefighting efforts against a wildfire in Alberta, Canada have started protesting over a pay dispute, a report has said.

One of the firefighters, Bitiro Moseki, said the group is getting paid $15 a day, despite their contract’s value totalling $50 a day per firefighter, CBC News reported on Thursday.

According to the contract, the remaining $35 will be paid out within six months of their return to South Africa.

Moseki said the group were concerned that the media were reporting inflated figures, and that the group were not there for money, but were there to assist the Canadian government.

Their contract states the firefighters would work 12 hours per day on a 14-day work cycle, with three days off at the end of those two weeks.

Moseki agreed that the firefighters did sign the contract.

Song and dance

The team of firefighters and their management arrived in Canada last Monday, News24 reported.

Working on Fire said the 301-strong team was the largest team of international firefighters battling the blaze, which started at Fort McMurray.

The firefighters received a warm welcome from local residents and burst into song at the airport, CBC News reported last month.

One of the firefighters said singing was a way to bond with each other and foster teamwork.

The firefighters did not work on Wednesday over the dispute.

Read more on:    canada  |  fires

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