CapeTownlogoNews24 Wire reports that many of the firefighters risking their lives to bring Cape Town’s devastating Table Mountain fire under control are doing so while in a protracted dispute over their shifts, and are worried about being fired.

According to the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), 525 firefighters could be fired for embarking on an unlawful strike in 2019. Samwu explained that the strike had been to strengthen a demand for eight-hour shifts instead of 24-hour shifts. The City took the firefighters to the Labour Court, which declared the strike unlawful. The City later suspended 525 firefighters, according to Samwu Cape Metro’s organiser Archie Hearne. “We want to say to the City of Cape Town, no one is … trained or skilled to extinguish this [present] fire than those whom you are about to dismiss,” Hearne pointed out. City of Cape Town spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo indicated that a disciplinary process was still underway relating to events in 2019 when some firefighters affiliated with Samwu refused to work their contracted hours in terms of a valid shift agreement.

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