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1200 Businesses Give Workers Time Off To Attend Climate Strike

Cities nationwide will be flooded with protesters on Friday as tens of thousands of people rally for a global climate change strike -- and more than 1200 businesses are giving workers time off to attend.

At the time of writing, more than 1200 Australian companies have signed up to the Not Business As Usual campaign, where firms pledge to give their employees the opportunity to attend local events as part of the global climate strike.

Leading firms Atlassian, Canva, Keep Cup, Amnesty International and Koala are just some of those onboard.

"At the end of the day, the number one reason people might not come to a rally like this is fear of the reaction of their employer," Simon Sheikh, founder and CEO of Future Super, told 10 daily.

"This means there should be no reason not to come down this Friday, at midday, all across the country. The rallies will be huge."

Friday's event, just days out from the United Nations' emergency climate summit in New York, will see ordinary workers and adults join the huge School Strike For Climate. Rallies are planned for countless cities worldwide; in Australia, there will be major events in all capital cities, and nearly 90 smaller cities and towns.

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Future Super is giving their employees a paid day off to attend the strike, while other firms are giving their workers a 'long lunch', or pledging not to hold meetings that day.

Attendees at the Sydney School Strike 4 Climate rally on March 15 in Sydney. Photo: 10 daily

"Millions of school climate strikers have been leaving their classrooms every Friday. Now they hope that everyone else will join them in action," organisers of the global climate strike said.

"Going on climate strike means people everywhere walking out of their homes, their offices, their farms, their factories."

"Everyone is needed to disrupt business as usual: from sports stars, actors and teachers to food industry workers, psychologists, delivery drivers and everything in between."

In Australia, the events will be held in the middle of the day on Friday. This would usually mean that ordinary workers might struggle to attend on account of needing to be at their paid jobs -- the growing Not Business As Usual movement, spearheaded by former GetUp! boss Sheikh, has signed up more than 1200 businesses nationwide which will let their workers take some time off the job and attend the rally.

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Stone & Wood brewery, Domain, Car Next Door, Intrepid Travel, Planet Ark and Piping Hot are some of the household names giving their employees the chance to join the demonstration, alongside training colleges, consultancy firms, radio stations, design studios and more.

Attendees at the Sydney School Strike 4 Climate rally on March 15. Photo: 10 daily

"It’s not business as usual for the world's children to skip school to get adults to pay attention to the climate crisis," the Not Business As Usual campaign said online.

"It’s not business as usual for those children to have to ask the adults to skip work. It’s not business as usual for citizens to strike to get governments to make meaningful commitments to climate action."

"So, on Friday 20 September, we’re not doing business as usual."

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Around the world, other large companies like Ben and Jerry's, Patagonia, Lush cosmetics are also giving their workers time off.

"When we launched, we were targeting just 50 employers. With this number, we're blown away," Sheikh said.

He said that in recent days, more than 100 businesses had signed up to Not Business As Usual each day.

"It's really encouraging to see a shift in the role businesses are playing. Civil society and business is stepping up," Sheikh said.

"Typically companies are the target of strikes, now they're endorsing the strikes."

Businesses can sign up at the Not Business As Usual website.