Marching in the national shutdown? Get OK first

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Marching in the national shutdown? Get OK first

Wendy Knowler, Yasantha Naidoo, Babalo Ndenze and LINDA ENSOR | 2017-04-06 07:07:42.0

President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation Address in Cape Town

President Jacob Zuma. File photo.

Image by: SUMAYA HISHAM
/

REUTERS

If you intend marching in the national shutdown planned for tomorrow, aimed at pressuring President Jacob Zuma to quit, get clearance from your boss.

That’s the directive from some companies, which have warned employees who plan to protest that tomorrow is a normal working day as far as they are concerned.

But several companies have indicated they will close for the day; others have told employees to take leave, or protest in their lunch hour.

In a circular on Tuesday, eThekwini acting city manager Philemon Mashoko said employees who planned to participate in the mass action without authorised leave would have to face the consequence of “no work, no pay”.

Multinational Unilever reminded employees that tomorrow was a “normal working day”. An e-mail on Tuesday urged employees to be cautious and safe.

Michael Maeso, head of employment and pension law at Shepstone & Wylie, said employees should not assume they had the right to leave work to participate in the proposed action.

“Any absence from work that is not authorised by the employer constitutes misconduct and entitles the employer to take disciplinary action against the employee.

“The sanctions can include dismissal if the employer is able to show significant inconvenience as a result of the employee’s absence or if the absence was in defiance of an express instruction to attend work.”

Marches have been planned across the country, including in Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban.

Nearly 62% of Cape businesses are in favour of closing down tomorrow in protest against the sacking of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, a survey by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry showed.

Some companies in Cape Town, including Old Mutual, have announced that they would close and give their employees the day off to protest.

The government condemned the planned protest on Tuesday, saying calls for a shutdown of the country could have “unexpected consequences for our fragile economy, business and communities”.



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