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Cape firefighters wage dispute heads to arbitrator

Firefighters affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union and the Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union want their allowances increased to 79.23% of their salaries, from the current 22.8%.

FILE: A fire engine at the Strand fire station. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Unions representing firefighters remain in dispute and an arbitrator will be called in to help settle a pay dispute with Cape Town’s firefighters.

Firefighters affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union want their allowances increased to 79.23% of their salaries, from the current 22.8%.

The allowances determine how much firefighters are paid for being on standby at fire stations.

On Wednesday, the matter went before the Bargaining Council at the end of October. Usually, if this stage fails, a formal arbitration process follows, which could take several months to finalise.

Imatu’s Etienne Bruwer says arbitration is the only remedy in a formal arbitration.

“No agreement could be reached at the conciliation phase. Therefore a certificate was issued by the Bargaining Council and that certificate basically gives you the right to refer the matter to arbitration.

Samwu's Sydney Flusk says: “Firefighters still demand to restructure the working hours and secondly to be compensated for the hours of work. Currently, they are losing 80 hours per month and they want to reduce the hours of work.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)