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Union threatens go-slow until City of CT pays firefighters overtime

Samwu said firefighters were supposed to work eight hours a day and about 40 hours a week. But the union complained, saying that in many cases members were working 72 to 80 hours a week without being paid overtime.

FILE: A firefighter battles to extinguish the fire on Kloof Nek near Camps Bay, Cape Town on 7 February 2019. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town and a trade union are still willing to negotiate to avoid a go-slow by firefighters.

Municipal workers union Samwu threatened the action due to a labour dispute over overtime shifts. It comes as the city braces for the fire season.

Samwu said firefighters were supposed to work eight hours a day and about 40 hours a week. But the union complained, saying that in many cases members were working 72 to 80 hours a week without being paid overtime.

The union's Sebenzile Kiva said there was a shortage of firefighters, which meant crews had to work additional hours.

“Firefighters have not been paid for the [overtime] time that they’ve been working. They will down tools from 1 October.”

Samwu said if no agreement had been reached, firefighters would only work from 8am until 4pm.

The city could not provide EWN with details of whether firefighters were paid overtime.