CapeTownlogoCape Argus reports that fire stations across Cape Town have been working with minimal staff for the last month because 525 firefighters are facing disciplinary hearings and are not allowed to work overtime.

The firefighters are facing disciplinary hearings for refusing to “work as required”. Their letters of notice from the City claimed that the workers committed wilful gross misconduct when, during the period between 1 and 8 October 2019, they participated in an unlawful strike by refusing to work according to the shift system. SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) secretary Mike Khumalo reported that of the 525, at least 439 accepted a bargaining plea Some 30 individuals were in training at the time and did not take the bargaining offer, so their cases would continue this week. Khumalo said 50 people were regarded as ring leaders by the City and their cases would continue next month. Three others had died due to Covid-19. City spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo confirmed that disciplinary processes had been completed for some staff members. The outcome of the process was a matter between the employer and its employees. But, Tyhalibongo claimed there had been no impact on fire stations because of the disciplinary process.  Nonetheless, like many other frontline services, the City’s Fire and Rescue Service has been dealing with the impact of Covid-19 on staff, in addition to other sick leave requests.

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