South Africa/Canada– Working on Fire would like to address the concerns raised after the recent media coverage regarding the miscommunication and subsequent wage dispute regarding the remuneration of the Working on Fire (WoF) fire fighters who were deployed to Canada.
We wish to stress that WoF is not a profit driven organisation and due to recent speculation amongst members of the public, we would like to clarify the fire fighters remuneration and other expenditure related to the Canadian deployment. Various media reports referred to a cost of $170 (CAD) per day. We wish to clarify that the agreed project flat rate was $157 (CAD) excluding VAT or $172.88 (CAD) including VAT on costs other than salaries and wages.
The agreed flat rate includes the following: Comprehensive medical, personal injury, compensation and death insurance Mobilisation and demobilisation costs Remuneration and associated benefits to crew Supplies Training Travel and vehicle hire Personal Protective Clothing Equipment; and Incidentals
Remuneration Total fire fighting crew remuneration, basic fire fighters, strike team leaders and incident management team amounts to an average of $83 (CAD) excluding VAT per crew member per day.
The budget includes $65 excluding VAT (CAD) per day for fire fighters remuneration and is made up as follows: $50 CAD excluding VAT (R600) international out of country allowance $9.17 CAD excluding VAT (R110) normal South African salary $5.83 CAD excluding VAT (R70) is a standard in country away from home base allowance
This amounts to a total of $65 CAD excluding VAT (R780) per day for every basic fire fighter.
Working on Fire remains uncertain as to why fire fighters opted to down tools and demand R3 000 per fire fighter per day, however, we are investigating the matter further so as to ensure that a similar incident does not reoccur in the future.
By adjusting for the local cost of living it becomes evident that the WoF fire fighters, deployed to assist with the Alberta wildfires, earn more than the standard Canadian fire fighter wages in real terms. Adjustment for local cost of living calculated is calculated using the NUMBEO cost of living index
Additional supplier costs All other supplier costs incurred by WoF is also recovered and amounts to R5,8 million, which is $47 (CAD) excluding VAT per day or 30 percent of budget. A maximum standard implementing fee on additional revenue generated of 9,6 percent is paid to Kishugu.
Working on Fire cost recovery All WoF costs, while fire fighters are on deployment, is recovered and used within the WoF programme to employ additional unemployed youth. For this assignment it is R3,3 million, which is the remaining $27 (CAD) excluding VAT per fire fighter per day or 17 percent of the total budget.
Closing Following recent negotiations with the fire fighters and Canadian authorities a new proposed budget will be agreed on and settled within three months. In the meantime, the total foreign allowance portion of the fire fighters remuneration, including an additional hourly rate while working in Alberta, was paid into each fire fighters foreign travel debit card account. Their standard South African (SA) salaries and local allowances will be paid into their normal SA bank accounts.