WALVIS BAY – A parliamentary select committee, appointed to find solutions regarding fishermen who resigned en masse in August, made a raft of recommendations to resolve the tentative employment situation of the workers.
The 612 fishermen who resigned in August should all be reinstated with immediate effect and should be paid their outstanding salaries for September and October 2022 by the Cavema Group.
They should also be on their payroll until the contract ends on 31 December this year.
Also, quotas issued for employment creation should be forfeited if fishing companies fail to meet their contractual agreement, and the fisheries and labour ministries should enforce stricter monitoring and evaluation to ensure agreements are adhered to.
Parliamentarians Elma Dienda, Tjekero Tweya, Edson Isaaks and Gotthard Kasuto were assigned as the parliamentary select committee to undertake a fact-finding mission following the resignation and to deescalate the situation earlier this month.
The fishermen have been employed since last year by the joint venture, following a Cabinet directive to re-employ over 1 100 fishermen in the industry as government’s intervention after they lost their jobs due to an illegal strike in 2015.
Kuiseb Fishing Enterprises, Hadago Fishing, Cavema Fishing, Rainbow Fishing, Vernier Investment and Camoposatu Investment employed the fishermen through the joint venture.
However, they resigned on 22 August 2022, saying no employment was created since the Cabinet directive in 2020, and that they want to work for better salaries that can sustain their families. The committee, through their engagements with all parties, found that the fishermen or their representatives were not signatories to the designation agreements.
The findings of the committee further state that no permanent jobs were offered to the fishermen since 2020 while the ministry of labour failed to submit any reports to the fisheries ministry in this regard.
“We also found that workers initially signed agreements with Shelfco Investments, who were not part of the agreement.
Two other companies, Shore Recruit & Fishing Services and Talent Tide Employment & Fishing Services (Pty) Ltd were also not party to the designation agreements,” the committee stated in their report.
They are now also recommending that government consider the proposal of Walu Fishing Investments (Pty) Ltd, who intends to absorb the fishermen under its joint venture, namely; Okadhona Fishing (Pty) Ltd and Iyaloo Women. The company earlier indicated that they are willing to offer the fishermen at least N$9 000 while they are currently only receiving an allowance of N$4 000 from the joint venture.