Cape Town firefighters back at work as council drops disciplinary action

Cape Town firefighters, who are members of the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu), ended their work-to-rule action on Tuesday.
Cape Town firefighters, who are members of the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu), ended their work-to-rule action on Tuesday.
Image: phanuwatnandee / 123RF Stock Photo

Staffing levels at Cape Town's 30 fire stations were expected to return to normal from Tuesday evening after an agreement was reached between the city council and the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu).

The agreement, which was made an order of the labour court, means firefighters will honour the existing deal on 24-hour shifts and the standby allowance.

The city council will scrap suspensions and disciplinary proceedings against employees arising from alleged misconduct since the dispute began on October 1.

For the past week, Samwu firefighters have restricted their working hours to 8am to 4.30pm, saying they were not being paid overtime.

The city said that of its 900 firefighting staff, about 60% were affiliated to Samwu. It identified critical fire stations where a 24-hour service was maintained.

Under Tuesday’s agreement, the two sides agreed to return to court on November 29 for a final ruling on the overtime pay dispute.

Council safety and security director Richard Bosman said: “In the coming weeks, the parties will be required to file their heads of argument in preparation for the hearing in the labour court.”

He thanked non-Samwu firefighters and volunteers who had kept the fire service going during the week-long dispute. 

- TimesLIVE

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