WALVIS BAY – Employees of Embwinda Fishing are accusing the company of victimisation, unfair labour practices and discrimination following the dismissal of 21 supervisors on 30 August this year.
The workers yesterday staged a protest during lunchtime, demanding the immediate reinstatement of their fellow employees as well as for government and shareholders to investigate labour relations at the fishing company.
According to the disgruntled employees, the company to date unfairly dismissed 31 people in a short period of time.
Speaking to the media shortly after the protest, one of the dismissed employees, Victoria Ruben said that all employees were told on 18 August that they will not be working the next day, as no fish was available for processing.
She said that upon further enquiry, all supervisors were told to come in at 8h00 on the 19 August.
Ruben went on and explained that usually when they do not have fish at the factory and are told to come in, they would receive training.
“Because we were told that there are no fish to process, none of us had protective gears required to work in the factory on. To our surprise, we were told that we will be processing fish despite being told via email the previous day that there are no fish to process,” she said.
Ruben told the media that they did not refuse to work but rather went to one of the managers to explain why they were not dressed properly and requested for the correct gear to wear.
She added that supervisors are normally employed to supervise those processing fish to make sure they work.
“He refused to listen to us and in fact told us that we must go with our Namibian labour law,” Ruben explained.
According to her, the majority of the supervisors were unfairly dismissed on first offenses.
“What is of more concern to us is the fact that they let us continue to work until the end of August. They even let us work as usual until the last day and only gave us our dismissal letters when we were about to knock off on 30 August. This clearly shows that they were looking for a reason to fire us. They had this planned already,” Ruben said.
Also speaking on behalf of the workers, Julius Taapopi Iyambo said that they want the company to reinstate the fired supervisors as soon as possible as it is the company’s responsibility to provide a safe working environment for its employees.
Receiving the petition, Managing Director of the company Jose Reyero said that they cannot comment at this stage.
Eveline de Klerk
2019-09-20 07:31:40 24 days ago