Remember the 300 South African firefighters who went to Canada to help with the huge wildfire in Alberta? They made headlines recently after dancing and singing when they arrived at a Canadian airport and the video went viral. It was a proudly South African moment. Now just a week later they are reportedly heading home because of a pay dispute. The firefighters apparently had an agreement with Canadian authorities, but an article in SA media misquoted what they were being paid so they refused to work on Wednesday. They were still on strike as of yesterday.
According to Canada, their contract terms stated that the firefighters would be paid $50 for a 12-hour day. $15 would be paid immediately and the rest within 6 months after they returned to SA. The firefighters became upset when SA media sources quoted they were making $15 an hour.
“After just over a week, all 300 SA firefighters appear to be heading home from Canada.
The hundreds of South African firefighters on loan to Alberta will be coming home despite the Canadian wildfires continuing to rage, reportedly over a pay dispute, CTV News in Canada has reported.” [Citizen]
Sigh. I feel for them though. If they didn’t know they would be getting only $15 for 12 hours and the rest when they came back to SA i’d also be a annoyed. That and the fact that actual Canadian firefighters apparently make $21 to $26 an hour on 12-hour shifts, with overtime.
Here’s the original viral video of them arriving in Canada
Pay them what Canadian firefighters make. They deserve it.