South Africa 23.7.2015 09:00 am

Court order douses firefighter go-slow

File photo. Members of the Ekurhuleni Emergency Service fight a factory fire, 05 March 2014, at the MC Meats factory in Germiston, Johannesburg. Picture: Alaister Russell

File photo. Members of the Ekurhuleni Emergency Service fight a factory fire, 05 March 2014, at the MC Meats factory in Germiston, Johannesburg. Picture: Alaister Russell

After a one-week go-slow by a group of firefighters that forced the City of Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services to use retired firefighters to help out, the Labour Court has granted an interim order for firefighters to urgently return to working their 12-hour shifts.

The City of Johannesburg applied for the interdict yesterday to stop the firefighters from staying away from work.

Firefighters were refusing to work after 4pm – when their eight hour shift ends – saying that City of Johannesburg should pay them for the extra hours they are putting in.

The disgruntled firefighters said even though they had been working for over 15 years, their salaries remained the same regardless of the years of experience.

This after a group of firefighters decided to stop working a 12-hour shift saying it was against the Labour law to work the shift without extra pay.

Firefighters started tabling their grievances earlier this year, complaining to City of Johannesburg about what they describe as insufficient equipment, salaries and allowances.

After feeling ignored, the group decided to go on a go-slow, one of the firefighters said.

This led City of Johannesburg to apply for an interdict.

Following the courts decision, the firefighters said they respect the law and they woulld go back to work. But they vowed to continue fighting for their rights.

One of the firefighters said he was disappointed by the court order. “I felt like the court favours slavery, we are being worked like slaves here.”

“To show that City of Johannesburg has money, when we were not working the 12-hour shift, they hired retired firefighters and they were paying them. Why can’t they use that money to pay us instead?,” he said.

Firefighters would resume to their regular 12-hour shift as of today.

 

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