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Jhb firefighters will continue to battle via correct channels

The Labour Court has granted an interim order stopping the work-to-rule protest.

FILE: A fire truck at a Johannesburg fire station. Picture: Emily Corke/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The city's firefighters say that while they respect the Labour Court order forcing them to return to 12-hour shifts, they will continue their fight through the bargaining council.

The court granted an interim order stopping the work-to-rule protest which saw some firefighters refusing to work past 4pm in a dispute regarding overtime.

The City of Joburg has argued that the firefighters' actions are putting the public at risk.

Firefighters representative Dan Motsoeneng says they are not accepting defeat and will defend their case through the correct channels next week.

"The consoling factor is that the matter will be heard on an expeditious basis just as the employer, the City of Joburg, has requested."

In the meantime he says that firefighters who have not been suspended will return to work for now.

"We must go back and still subject ourselves to the same prejudices that we have been complaining about."

But Motsoeneng adds that the firefighters are tired of waiting for management to take their grievances seriously as they were first lodged in 2001.

The City of Joburg's lawyers say they hope the matter will be resolved soon.

Joburg EMS head Tshepo Makola has assured the public that it's fully protected after the Labour Court order.

"The citizens are protected. Employees who are not on illegal strike are protected and they can do their work without any fear of being intimidated," says Makola.

He says management will now make it clear that if staff do not report for duty for the 12-hour shift, they will be held in contempt of court.

Makola says management maintains that the firefighters' issues will be heard through the correct channels until there is a resolution.

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