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SA firefighters in Canada go on strike amid fiery pay dispute

Working On Fire says it is dispatching a senior management team to bring the firefighters home.

A group of South African firefighters work to uproot a tree as they mop-up hot spots in an area close to Anzac, outside of Fort McMurray, Alberta on June 2, 2016.  Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - After less than a week on the job, a group of 300 South African firefighters sent to Canada to assist in stopping the Fort Mcmurray wildfire have gone on strike over a pay dispute.

The firefighters garnered international media attention when they touched down in Canada last month singing and dancing as they landed.

The group are part of more than 2,000 firefighters working to extinguish the wildfires - and without their assistance, it's understood there is insufficient staff.

Working On Fire says it is dispatching it's senior management team this evening to bring the firefighters home.



While the firefighters gained much support for their assistance in Canada, they say they are only receiving an allowance of just under R225 a day, which is in addition to their South African salaries.

They say they were promised more, however Working on Fire disputes this.

The Canadian Authorities are covering their accommodation and meals, while Working On Fire says a further out-of-country allowance will be paid to them when they return.

The firefighters were only on the fifth day of a work cycle that was scheduled to last 14 days, followed by three days of rest.