Working on Fire, the company that deployed the now-returned South African firefighters to Canada, has issued a statement clarifying the discrepancies in the earnings of the firefighters, and the profit earned by the company. We publish their statement here in full.
Working on Fire (PTY) Ltd 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) firefighters who were deployed to Canada.
We wish to stress that Working on Fire (WoF) is not a profit driven organisation, and due to recent speculation amongst members of the public, we would like to clarify the firefighter’s 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) Excl 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
– Travel and vehicle hire
– Personal Protective Clothing
– Equipment; and
Total firefighting crew remuneration (Basic firefighters, Strike team Leaders and Incident Management Team) amounts to an average of $83 (CAD) Excl VAT per crew member per day.
The budget includes $65 Excl VAT (CAD) per day for firefighters remuneration and is made up as follows:
– $50 CAD Excl VAT (R600) international out of country allowance
– $9.17 CAD Excl VAT (R110) normal South African salary
– $5.83 CAD Excl VAT (R70) is a standard in country away from home base allowance.
This amounts to a total of $65 CAD Excl VAT (R780) per day for every basic firefighter.
Working on Fire (PTY) Ltd remains uncertain as to why firefighters opted to down tools and demand R3 000 per firefighter per day however, we are investigating the matter further so as to ensure that a similar incident does not re-occur in the future.
By adjusting for the local cost of living it becomes evident that the Working on Fire (WoF) firefighters, deployed to assist with the Alberta wildfires, earn more than the standard Canadian firefighting wages in real terms:
*Adjustment for local cost of living calculated is calculated using the NUMBEO cost of living index
ii. Additional Supplier Costs
All other supplier costs incurred by WoF is also recovered and amounts to R5,8 million which is $47 (CAD) Excl VAT per day or 30% of budget. A maximum standard implementing fee on additional revenue generated of 9,6% is paid to Kishugu.
iii. Working on Fire (WoF) Cost Recovery
All Working on Fire (WoF) costs, while firefighters 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) Excl VAT per firefighter per day or 17% of the total budget.
Following recent negotiations with the firefighters 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 firefighter’s remuneration (including an additional hourly rate while working in Alberta) was paid into each firefighter’s Foreign Travel Debit Card Account. Their standard SA salaries and local allowances will be paid into their normal SA bank accounts.