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CoCT 'ready' for fire season despite boycott of overtime shifts

The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) affiliated members want changes to the overtime pay structure and are, since yesterday, only working from 8am to 4-30pm.

FILE: Firefighters roll-up equipment after fighting a wildfire in the Southern Cape. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town declared itself ready for the upcoming fire season, despite 60% of its firefighters currently boycotting overtime shifts.

Firefighters affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) want changes to the overtime pay structure and are only working from 8am to 4.30pm.

This started on Tuesday.

The city said it would take disciplinary action against the firefighters who refused to work overtime.

Despite the boycott, the municipality said it was prepared for the fire season.

Cape Town's high-risk fire season runs from December to May.

The spokesperson for the City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Services Jermaine Carelse said current staff would be joined by seasonal firefighters and 50 new recruits in the coming months.

The municipality said last season they saw a decline in the number of residential fires and a 29% reduction in fatalities year on year.

If all goes according to plan, two more fire stations will be opened before the end of the year - in Masiphumelele and Sir Lowry's Pass.

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