Pretoria Zoo plans to protect animals during possible worker strike

2017-07-07 17:28
(National Zoological Gardens, Facebook)

(National Zoological Gardens, Facebook)

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Pretoria - The National Zoological Gardens has contingency plans in place to protect animals and visitors during a strike organised by the workers of the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC).

The strike is planned to take place on Saturday.

"The National Zoo Gardens (NZG) has a contingency plan in place to ensure the wellbeing and safety of its animals, staff members and the visiting public. Not all of NZG's employees will be participating in the strike, should it occur," said Pretoria Zoo spokesperson Craig Allenby.

This came after negotiations regarding overtime pay between workers and management broke down.

The 120 workers with NTUC membership presented zoo management with a strike certificate by the CCMA on Wednesday.

The NTUC demanded that workers be paid overtime for working on Saturdays and Sundays.

A collective agreement signed by all National Zoological Gardens unions in 2009 relates to the implementation of a seven day work week.

NTUC wants the agreement set aside and that workers be employed on five-day basis and receive overtime for working on weekends.

"This is about a collective agreement from 2009. Members want to be paid double on Sundays and 1.5% on Saturdays," said union secretary Sophaniah Machaba.

Allenby said that this demand was both financially and practically unfeasible, due to the nature of the zoo's operations.

"National Zoo Garden's operations are from Monday to Sunday. It is open every day of the year and the animals require care every day of the week. The NZG cannot operate as a five-day week operation," he said.

Despite earlier threats from Machaba to shut down the zoo from Thursday, all workers reported for duty on Friday.

Allenby explained that workers could not legally strike before a 48 hour notice period had expired.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  animals  |  labour action

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