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Wed Aug 24 08:46:14 SAST 2016

Worker strike closes Johannesburg Zoo

Neo Goba | 04 March, 2016 15:58
Joburg Zoo. File photo.

Jo'burg Zoo has closed down indefinitely due to an unprotected strike action by some of its employees.

The labour action led to management closing the facility over security concerns for the public as well as their own safety.

Spokesperson for the zoo Jenny Moodley said that workers are due back on the job on Saturday‚ after management applied for an urgent court interdict for their employees to return to work.

“City Parks and the Zoo in the interim have applied for an interdict appealing its employees to refrain from acts of vandalism and intimidation‚” said Moodley.

Moodley stated that some roaming vehicles responsible for feeding the animals within the premises were vandalized and water points were turned off on Friday during the strike.

Hundreds of visitors‚ including school children‚ were turned away by management on Friday in fear of their safety.

According to Moodley‚ they cannot at this stage address the workers' issues around salary adjustments and disparities as these matters are being handled at a group level in the City of Johannesburg and the bargaining council.

Workers' concerns include grading issues‚ disparities of salaries‚ benchmarking‚ labour matters and requests for progression. Moodley could not give a basic salary amount but instead said workers annually receive between 5%to 7% salary increases in the past “few years”.

Moodley assured the public that the wellbeing of animals in their care is their priority.

She offered the assurance that animals would be fed as Joburg Zoo has an extensive volunteer programme and some of the city's residents have already started offering their services.

When Times Media visited the Zoo on Friday‚ police had been deployed outside the premises.

- TMG Digital/Local Government Team

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