• September 21st, 2020

Tunacor throws lifeline to retrenched fishermen 



The Tunacor Group has offered employment to 180 fishermen who were retrenched by Namsov in 2015. 
In December last year, government started negotiations with the fishing industry to secure work for the retrenched fishermen who were laid off after Namsov’s quota was slashed by then fisheries minister Bernhard Esau. 

It also resulted in Bidvest Namibia Fisheries, then majority owner of Namsov, selling its business to the Tunacor Group. 
Daniel Imbili, the president of the Namibia Fishing Industries and Fishermen Workers Union, this week confirmed the seamen have already resumed duty at Tunacor, as the fisheries ministry already allocated an additional quota, specifically for their employment, to Tunacor. 
According to Imbili, they are relieved the intake resumed and that the aggrieved workers, who had also become victims of the Fishrot scandal, can finally earn a salary. 

“These workers have been without jobs for years. Some even retired, some died and some even took up other jobs and ventured into other business opportunities,” Imbili told New Era. 

According to Imbili, the re-employment process of the fishermen was divided into three groups. 
“The first group considered for employment was the Namsov employees. The second group consists of about 1 000 fishermen who lost their jobs after partaking in an illegal strike. The third group is the casuals who were working on vessels. We will have to see how they can be absorbed as well.” 
Erongo governor Neville Andre earlier also said the Namsov fishermen have already signed their employment contracts, while those who lost their jobs due to the strike will have to wait for a while. 

“The relevant ministries and unions are currently still busy verifying information of the fishermen. Once the verification is done, it will be sent to the labour ministry so that the recruitment process in the various fishing companies can start,” he said. 
The re-employment of the former fishermen was initiated by the government after it was revealed the Fishrot scandal played a role in the Namsov job losses.
 The international fishing kickback scandal implicated Esau and former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, as well as business people. 
Both ministers were forced to resign over the scandal. 

Esau, Shanghala and three of their co-accused allegedly received corrupt payments of at least N$103.6 million to allow Icelandic fishing company Samherji secure access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia.  
Government was previously blamed for doing nothing to rescue companies such as Etosha Fishing, United Fishing and Namsov, resulting in massive job losses over the years.
- edeklerk@nepc.com.na 


Eveline de Klerk
2020-09-17 09:30:37 | 3 days ago

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