NUMSA lodges a dispute against Working on Fire.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has lodged a dispute with the CCMA against Working on Fire in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Our members can no longer tolerate the level of rampant exploitation by the management of that organization. Our members have had enough of being subjected to poor working conditions and low pay.
Working on Fire pays our member’s extremely low wages. They risk their lives putting out fires for a meager R2250 a month (approximately U.S.$172). Our members do not receive the benefit of a provident fund; they are denied paid annual leave; maternity leave, overtime pay and they are not even covered for medical aid, and yet the kind of work they do puts them in harm’s way every single day!
As NUMSA we are not surprised by the blatant disregard for Workers rights. This is an example of government outsourcing an essential service to the private sector, instead of employing workers into the public service directly and paying them a living wage.  Working on Fire is a government Expanded Public Works Program (EPWP), which supplies training and employment mainly to young black people as fire-fighters.
The scheme is run by a private company called Kishigu Holdings which has, in the past, taken advantage of the poverty and desperation of workers. Last year they provoked a strike amongst South African fire fighters in Canada, by paying them less than the standard wage compared to their Canadian counterparts.
We will be participating in in arbitration under the auspices of the CCMA with the organization. NUMSA demands that Working On Fire negotiate in good faith to settle the dispute so that we can reach an amicable solution. The talks will begin soon.
In the meantime, our members will be meeting the management of Working on Fire on Thursday the 27th of July to discuss the Canadian debacle and to map a way forward.
Aluta continua!
The struggle continues!
Issued by Phakamile Hlubi
NUMSA Acting Spokesperson