City of Joburg says illegal firefighters strike will not affect essential services

By Chanice Jennike - 22 September 2019Views : 588

The City of Johannesburg says emergency management services (EMS) will not be affected following the suspension of 230 firefighters who embarked on an illegal strike. 

According to Eyewitness News, the firefighters were suspended after they refused to "call-outs, citing concerns over the non-assignment of supervisors" in July. 

EWN confirmed that it was in possession of suspension letters served on the firefighters from various stations across Johannesburg last week.

The firefighters are reportedly accusing the Emergency Services Management of not adhering to the National Health Act. 

The MMC for public safety, Michael Sun released a statement on Friday. 

"The City is conscious about its employees' rights and will always be progressive in advancing these rights, however, we cannot be held to ransom by illegal strike action."

"The striking firefighters refused to attend to emergency calls made to the Jabulani, Johannesburg Central, Ivory Park and Rosebank fire stations, citing that some of the allocated duties assigned to them as basic life support officers were in fact duties to be performed by the intermediate life support officers. The firefighters also requested around the clock escorts from the JMPD when responding to emergencies."

Following a meeting between management and firefighters, 127 employees still refused to come to work. 

Sun confirmed that the City obtained a court order from the Labour Court, to prohibit firefighters from illegal action. 

"These firefighters are now in contempt of court as their actions are in direct contravention of the court order. Furthermore, in accordance with the South African Local Government Bargaining Council Collective Agreement, procedures are outlined for employees to lodge grievances. However, in this particular instance, the firefighters who refused to return to work even after EMS management's interventions failed to adhere to the set process."