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South African firefighters paid according to Alberta laws, government says

June 30, 2016

By: CBC News

Nearly 300 firefighters from South Africa who came to Canada last month to help fight the massive forest fire in the Fort McMurray area have been paid according to Alberta labour laws, the government said Wednesday.

Officials with the South African agency Working on Fire have confirmed for the Alberta government that the workers have been paid.

They were paid “in the same salary range as Alberta wildland firefighters,” the government said in a news release Wednesday.

“We are grateful that these women and men came to help us in our time of need. We are pleased to get confirmation that they have been paid in accordance with our province’s labour laws,” Oneil Carlier, minister of Agriculture and Forestry, said in a statement.

The South African firefighters arrived in Edmonton May 29, putting on a display of dancing and singing on their arrival at Edmonton International Airport.

They were deployed to northern Alberta two days later.

But they became embroiled in a pay dispute and stopped working on June 8. They left a northern work camp June 11 and flew back to South Africa the next day.

When the pay dispute came to light, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said it was “not acceptable” that firefighters were not making wages in accordance with Alberta labour laws.

Notley promised they would be compensated fairly.

By: CBC News

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