Nearly 400 Australian businesses have taken time off work today to march alongside students who are striking against the Morrison Government for what they describe as “fuelling the climate crisis”.
Prominent Australian household names such as Atlassian, Bank Australia, Patagonia and Canva have thrown their name behind the campaign, comprised of 382 signatories, which publicly pledges to give permission for their staff to strike without any repercussions or incurring any annual leave.
Led by Future Super, CEO and founder Simon Sheikh called on other businesses to follow suit and strike.
“The number one reason that people won’t strike isn’t the pandemic, it’s work. By supporting our employees to strike, we are allowing them to stand up for what the majority of Australians believe in: climate action,” he said.
Mike Cannon-Brookes, one of the first business leaders behind the inaugural Not Business as Usual campaign in 2019, said Australia was lacking “real leadership and action” in addressing the climate crisis.
“Luckily we can draw inspiration from the next generation who are refusing to accept the status quo and are stepping up to urge our government to take a stronger stance on climate change, and we want to stand in solidarity with them,” he said.
“That's why we're giving Atlassian's our full support to attend the upcoming strike if they choose to do so, to help send a united message: ‘Don’t @#$% the Planet.’
School Strike 4 Climate activist and Year 12 student Sophie Chiew said the Morrison Government ought to be growing the renewable energy sector and creating jobs.
“Instead, they are lining the pockets of multinational coal and gas companies, which are fuelling the climate crisis, devastating our land and water, wrecking our health and creating very few jobs,” she said.
“All of us need to stand together - students, young people, organisations, adults and businesses - and say enough is enough. We cannot keep throwing public money at coal and gas."
The School Strike 4 Climate website calls on attendees to be COVID-safe and bring face masks, hand sanitiser, practice social distancing, and stay home if they exhibit cold- or flu-like symptoms.
Strikes led by School Strike 4 Climate will be held in every Australian capital city and in several other locations, with 18 strikes planned across NSW alone.