Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY – Government has successfully facilitated the employment of over 1 000 fishermen, including scores of fired seafarers who went on a wildcat strike in 2015, as well as those who lost their jobs after Namsov’s quota was slashed.
The lengthy process that started in 2019 was finally concluded with the employment of the last 290 fishermen who have snapped up by hake giant Hangana Seafood.
The agreement was signed yesterday with the fishermen expected to take up employment as early as 1 July. The re-employment of the fishermen was initiated by government last year after it emerged the Fishrot scandal also played a role in the Namsov job
According to the managing director of Hangana Seafood Herman Theron, the 290 fishermen will receive the same benefits as the current employees and are employed on a permanent basis. He added they are constructing a new factory that will also result in additional employment.
“We currently employ about 1 400 workers but once the new factory is operational, we will be employing 300 more,” Theron said while assuring his current employees that the latest development will have no impact on them. The new factory is worth N$350 million.
Cavema takes 645
At least 645 workers were absorbed by Cavema Fishing and subsidiary companies Camposatu, Vernier Investments and The Rainbow, with a monthly salary of N$3 900.
Cavema Fishing shareholder Robert Shimooshili last week indicated over 100 fishermen have already taken up employment at the company. “We felt pity for them. They have been without jobs for so long and our aim is to help government to look after our people,” Shimooshili said. President of the Namibian Fishing Industries and Fishermen Workers Union Daniel Imbili, who was part of the negotiations, yesterday told New Era it is indeed a relief that the fishermen jobless saga has finally been resolved. The Tunacor Group last year took in 180 fishermen who were retrenched by Namsov in 2015 after former fisheries minister Albert Kawana allocated an additional quota to the company, specifically for their employment. “These workers have been without jobs for years. Some even retired, some died. They were indeed misled by their former representative and left out in the cold. Thanks to government they can all finally start rebuilding their lives,” said Iimbili. Fisheries minister Derek Klazen said his ministry will now streamline all contracts that were signed with various fishing companies to absorb the fishermen to iron out all challenges that exist. “We don’t want anything like this to happen again and we need to look after our people,” he said. He said the agreement with Hangana as well as the employment conditions offered by the company by the workers is what they are now advocating for. “The agreement was done in line with the Labour Act as well as all international labour conditions of organisations Namibia are part of and will be the guiding tool for both the fisheries ministry and the labour ministry,” he explained. According to Klazen companies previously negotiated straight with the fishermen and had offered different employment conditions. “We will streamline all contracts and I will only release quotas based on these agreements we sign here. This agreement is automatically renewable. They keep our workers, and we give them the quota,” Klazen said.
Done deal… Labour minister Utoni Nujoma and fisheries minister Derek Klazen sign the agreement with Hangana Seafood yesterday.
Photo: Eveline de Klerk