The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA)has welcomed the decision from the Essential Services Committee (ESC) which confirms that firefighters at the Working on Fire (WOF) form a part of the essential services. But unfortunately, the WOF has chosen to dispute this reality by attempting to delay the arbitration process. These delay tactics by the management team at WOF has been condemned by the NUMSA.
According to the press release by the NUMSA, the WOF does not want to pay workers a living wage. They work extremely long hours but are hardly ever compensated for their overtime.
"Our members who risk their lives and limbs are paid a shockingly low salary of just R2200 per month. To add salt to the wound they are denied basic benefits like medical aid and pension fund," said the statement.
The workers' organisation is now waiting for the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to confirm whether it is the duty of the WOF to bargain. The press release also mentions that the WOF is shamelessly abusing the processes at the CCMA so that a delay in the decision is inevitable.
"They (WOF) are so opposed to paying workers a living wage, they want to exhaust all loopholes in the system in a desperate attempt to keep from having to participate in the arbitration process which may force them to pay higher wages," mentions the statement.
Even if the battle to secure higher wages for our members at WOF is a lengthy one, NUMSA promises not to rest until they have negotiated better wages and working conditions for our members. "We will not rest until WOF treats workers with the dignity that they deserve," read the statement.