|Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she’s disturbed 300 South African firefighters working the blaze near Fort McMurray are receiving an allowance of only $15 a day, vowing that they’ll be paid what the province’s labour laws require.|
After less than a week on the job, the 300 firefighters went on strike Wednesday in a pay dispute with their South African employer. All of the firefighters have been “demobilized” since the strike, and some or all of them will be flown home.
| The firefighters arrived in Canada last month, singing and dancing as they landed at Edmonton airport, gaining media attention across Canada and internationally.|
Notley said the firefighters need to be paid at least the minimum required by Alberta law – $11.20 an hour. She said the province is paying $170 daily for each South African firefighter, as well as providing food, accommodation and travel costs.
Their organization, Working on Fire, said last week the firefighters would be getting a pay increase because of Canadian concerns that the South Africans would seem to be “slave labour” if they were paid substantially less than Canadian firefighters, who receive up to $26 an hour.