CT firefighters affiliated to Samwu stop working overtime shifts from today

Last week, the firefighters marched to the Civic Centre and Parliament to demand a change to the overtime pay structure.

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

CAPE TOWN - The South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) said Cape Town firefighters would not work overtime shifts starting on Tuesday.

Samwu confirmed on Monday that firefighters would only work from 8 am until 4:30 pm. Last week, the firefighters marched to the Civic Centre and Parliament to demand a change to the overtime pay structure.

The striking union represents about 60% of the City of Cape Town's 900 firefighters.

Samwu’s Sebenzile Kiva said firefighters would not work overtime shifts because the city had failed to meet the demands of its members.

“It will continue until the employer comes to the table,” Kiva said.

Firefighters told Eyewitness News that they worked a 24-hour shift but were being paid less than half of the time worked.

The City of Cape Town said it had contingency measures in place. It said staff would be redeployed to where shortages occurred, and day shift staff on standby would assist and those on their rest days would also be called on.

The city said neighbouring municipalities would also help in the event of a major incident. It threatened to take action against staff who refused to work standby hours. However, Samwu disagreed.

“The City cannot tell them because the labour law says once the one-party approaches you, you must also respond; we informed them six weeks back,” Kiva said.