WALVIS BAY – The Cavema Joint Venture has accused the Namibia Fishing Industries and Fishermen Workers Union of being responsible for the resignation of over 600
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 that no employment was created since the Cabinet directive in
According to the fishermen, they are denied the opportunity to earn decent salaries, and are held hostage by a mere N$4 100 retainer fee without any actual employment.
Representative of the fishermen Godfried Kuhanga said in a statement over the weekend that their resignations came after the companies through their union were notified that the objective quota they received from government is a burden.
“They suggested that buying quotas directly from a government auction is less costly, and informed us on 23 June that we must submit a list of names of those who wish to stay or resign from the joint venture. We acted as instructed by them, based on the options given to us: remain with their quota portion, or terminate and return their portion to government,” he explained.
However, Kuhanga said the companies did not lose any revenue from their resignation as they still enjoy the allocated quota by government, and demanded that they be paid until December when the agreement ends.
He added that the quota was given to create employment.
“They should pay us what is due as they are still benefiting from the quotas that were given to them to create jobs for us. We cannot survive on a mere N$4 000 as we have families to take care of. We wanted to work and earn decent salaries,” Kuhanga emphasised.
Cavema Joint Venture responds
The joint venture, through their legal representative Richard Metcalfe, indicated on Friday that all the fishermen were employed on fixed-term contracts with a clear provision of one month’s notice of termination of employment upon resignation of any such employees.
According to Metcalfe, the fishermen resigned with immediate effect, and thus owe the companies one month’s salaries due to their failure to provide 30 days’ notice.
“Simply put, these employees are no longer employed by my clients, nor does Kuhanga represent anyone employed by my clients,” the lawyer stated.
Metcalfe also told the union that the joint venture will not negotiate with the 612 fishermen who resigned.
“You cannot represent persons who are not employed by their own termination of employment with our client. That is simple logic and the law. No persons that have resigned will be paid monthly salaries, nor will they receive severance payments as the law does not make provision for it. All persons are paid in full, and it’s because of the stupidity of your union that terminated service with immediate effect that all 612 employees are jobless now,” he continued.
Caption: Jobless… A file picture of some of the over 1 100 fishermen who were employed by the Cavema Joint Venture as government’s intervention after they lost their jobs due to an illegal strike in 2015. Photo: Eveline de Klerk