Australia

Australian companies are urging workers to walk off job for climate action

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A growing number of Australian companies, including tech giant Atlassian, want workers to strike on 20 September – in the hope of getting corporate Australia serious on climate change.

Australian software giant Atlassian has joined a coalition of other retailers and organisations to urge employees to walk off the job and take part in global climate change strikes later this month. 

Twenty companies, including KeepCup, energy retailer Amber and ethical superannuation fund Future Super have formed the Not Business as Usual alliance, in an effort to get corporate Australia talking about the threat of climate change. 

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg inspired the global strike campaign.
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg inspired the global strike campaign.
AAP

Millions are expected to down pencils and tools on 20 September, walking out of work places and schools as part of the “Strike 4 Climate Acton” march, inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Future Super will close its doors on 20 September, urging its workers to march in solidarity.

“We came together with other Australian businesses to form Not Business as Usual because there’s nothing usual about students skipping school and asking adults to help them fight climate change,” Future Super CEO and founder Simon Sheikh said.

Future Super founder Simon Sheikh wants employees to walk off the job to highlight climate change.
Future Super founder Simon Sheikh wants employees to walk off the job to highlight climate change.
AAP

“Future Super will be closing its doors on the day of the climate strike, but every business can do something to support its employees who want to participate.

“Businesses who support their employees will be sending out a powerful message that this is not business as usual. We need to put boots on the ground and help solve the climate crisis, and by coming together we all have the power to be part of the solution to solve the moral challenge of our generation.”

Australian tech company Atlassian will also be actively encouraging its 3,500 workers to take part in the day of action and co-founder and chief executive Mike Cannon-Brookes said he urged other businesses to support employees who wanted to strike in solidarity as part of the 20 September climate march. 

“At Atlassian, one of our core values is ‘Don’t ---- the Customer’. This year, we’re taking that a step further with ‘Don’t ---- the Planet’,” he said.

“It’s been awesome to watch the next generation lead the way on climate action. Greta Thunberg started a movement that spread around the world. Tens of thousands of school kids joined the cause and turned out in force at a series of school strikes."

Mike Cannon-Brookes: “This year, we’re taking that a step further with ‘Don’t ---- the Planet’,”.
Mike Cannon-Brookes: “This year, we’re taking that a step further with ‘Don’t ---- the Planet’,”.
HOWORTH

In March this year, more than 150,000 students walked out across the country, inspired by Swedish climate activist teen Greta Thunberg, who is also urging adults to strike this time. 

An estimated 70 strikes have been organised across Australia for later this month.

Greta arrived in New York last week ahead of a major United Nations summit on 23 September, where she will demand global action on climate change.

But the business coalition’s urging to go on strike is in stark contrast to Coalition ministers’ attitudes, with Resources Minister Matt Canavan and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton previously slamming the striking students. 

Climate activists attend strike for climate protection in Sydney.
Climate activists attend strike for climate protection in Sydney.
LightRocket

“Taking off school and protesting? You don't learn anything from that,” Mr Canavan said last year, in response to the November school strikes.

"The best thing you'll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue. Because that's what your future life will look like, up in a line asking for a handout, not actually taking charge for your life and getting a real job."

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