The zoo's managing director, Clifford Nxomani, assured members of the public they have a contingency plan in place to ensure both the welfare of the animals and the safety of the visitors should the union continue with its picket actions.
Pretoria - Tourists and families planning to visit the National Zoo of Pretoria on Saturday should be aware of the prospective picket set to take place after midday.

Employees under the umbrella of the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) aim to picket outside the zoo's main entrance until their demands are addressed.

Motorists coming into the CBD were also warned to use alternative routes, as Boom Street will be occupied by picketers.

Despite the union's intentions to picket outside the main entrance and shut down the entire street, the zoo's managing director, Clifford Nxomani, assured members of the public they have a contingency plan in place to ensure both the welfare of the animals and the safety of the visitors should the union continue with its picket actions.

The picket comes after union members served the zoo with a notice, stating their intentions to picket outside the national zoo premises due to employees’ unsatisfactory working hours.

The union's secretary-general, Sophonia Machaba, said working patterns of employees were unsatisfactory and demanded overtime pay for working on weekends.

“We need our members to work regular hours like other employeesthey should work Mondays to Fridays and get double pay for working on both Saturdays and Sundays,” he said. Machaba said they already had the striking certificate from the CCMA which they served to their employer but were waiting for the striking rules.

“The notice indicates that members of the union intend on demonstrating and picketing after the expiry of the 48-hour notice period. The unresolved dispute relates to an agreement that was signed in 2009 between the zoo and its various trade unions, on the implementation of a seven-day work week,” Nxomani said.

The union demanded that the agreement signed be scrapped and a new one drafted, which stipulates that workers be paid overtime for work done during weekends.

Nxomani said: “The zoo is a seven-day operation. It is both impractical and financially unfeasible to meet the demands of the union. We have on several occasions engaged with the employees in an attempt to resolve the matter.”

Pretoria News