WALVIS BAY – The interim board chairperson of the Fishcor, Mihe Gaomab II has said they are in the process of negotiating with the public enterprises minister Leon Jooste and his fisheries counterpart, Albert Kawana for a quota allocation to Tunacor Fisheries.
Gaomab yesterday told New Era that Tunacor has agreed to employ the 655 employees of Seaflower Processing Pelagic (SPP) who recently appealed to Fishcor and Kawana to revoke a quota allocated to SPP due to the no-work no-pay employment contracts.
According to Gaomab, they after a consultative meeting with the union and employees were forced to look at other alternatives that could secure the jobs of the SPP employees. “We went down for a consultative meeting end of October to Walvis Bay and realised that employees were under the impression that the Fishcor board has retrenched them. We were very surprised as our priority is to sustain the jobs of all our employees,” he said.
Gaomab explained that they still have a duty towards the employees although the relation between Fishcor and SPP has soured.
Fishcor has a 40% stake in SPP, with African Selection Fishing owning 60% of the company.
However, the partnership was dubbed controversial, which also resulted in a recent court challenge, whereby the interim board also distanced itself from any agreements signed with SPP and pursued legal options to sever ties and terminate non-beneficial agreements.
“We still want to exercise our fiduciary duty to protect that 40%. Thus, we engage with Tunacor who since have indicated that they are ready to employ the workers. They will start absorbing them from next month with more appropriate work conditions and fair wages,” Gaomab said.
Speaking on behalf of SPP ex-employees, Mathew Simasiku said they are relieved. Simasiku said in early November they protested against slavery contracts of no-work-no pay they had with SPP.
“We want to express our sincere gratitude to the government and all who were involved in securing our employment. You have heard our suffering and cries and acted accordingly,” he said.
Tunacor, however, could not be reached for comment yesterday.