WALVIS BAY - At least 645 jobless fishermen at Walvis Bay have secured employment with Cavema Fishing and subsidiary companies Camposatu, Vernier Investments and The Rainbow.
The re-employment of the fishermen that were retrenched and those dismissed after a strike in 2015 was initiated by government last year after it was revealed the Fishrot scandal played a role in the Namsov job losses.
Former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau and former justice minister Sacky Shanghala as well as businesspeople are implicated in the international fishing kickback scandal.
Head of administration at Cavema Fishing Tommy Ikela, who is facilitating the recruitment process, yesterday confirmed that the fishermen were already on their payroll and received salaries for the past two months.
Explaining the process, Ikela said the 645 employees were selected from a master list that consisted of about 1 300 fishermen that are currently unemployed.
“They should have already reported for actual duty, but the process has been delayed by administrative issues.
However, they have already signed employment contracts with the respective companies and have been receiving salaries since September,” Ikela said.
Currently, he said, they are only required to notify the companies if they are travelling as they are legally employed already.
He added that the process was done under the guidelines of the labour ministry and in accordance with the Labour Act. He also explained the contracts signed by the fishermen are based on the quotas of the companies and is automatically renewable as long as companies have quotas. According to Ikela, the fishermen were randomly selected. Their names were sent to the ministry to make sure that they are not already employed elsewhere. “This is done to make sure everyone that is on the master list is given an opportunity to be employed,” he said. Ikela added employees would be allowed to sign up with a recognised union as stipulated by law to promote sound labour relations between the group and the employees.
The chairman of the Namibian Fishermen United Association, Mathew Lungameni, who also lost his job in 2015 due to the strike, yesterday said that they were relieved that some of them could finally secure employment. He added they were holding their breath for about 372 fishermen who were dismissed in 2015 and are yet to secure employment. “We are really happy that we could get employment and are thankful that government took our plight seriously. However, I have submitted the names of our fellow fishermen this morning to the labour ministry so that they can also get jobs like us,” he said. According to Lungameni, the companies that are expected to re-employ the fishermen have already indicated the total number of fishermen they can absorb.