Namibia: Government to re-employ 1,100 fishermen previously laid off

At least 1,100 Namibian fishermen who lost their means of livelihood during the 2015 illegal strike as well as those retrenched, will be reinstated into the fishing industry.

The Namibian government who revealed this said that the move would be fast-tracked before November 1, 2020.

It said it reached a consensus through the cabinet to facilitate the re-employment of the Namsov fishermen (fishing union).

Speaking to newsmen on the move, Labour Minister, Utoni Nujoma, said the process would soon be geared negotiations with the fishing union and companies were ongoing.

He also revealed that a minimum of six fishing companies have agreed to employ the fishermen while the government has made available 1,300 metric tons of Hake fish.

“We had a tripartite meeting with unions, workers representatives and companies and I am confident we crossed an important milestone to absorb the workers into the fishing sector,” Nujoma said.

He further stated that the process should have been concluded but was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the distortion of the names of the fishermen on the list.

About 180 fishermen who lost their jobs after Namsov’s quota was slashed by the previous minister Bernhardt Esau, returned to the industry after they were offered employment by Tunacor Fisheries.

Nujoma added, “People replaced names of genuine fishermen with those of their friends and relatives and made the verification process challenging.

“This has not only frustrated the progress but also the workers, who have been waiting to get back to work and earn an income for their families.”

The re-employment process of the fishermen, Nujoma said, 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 various vessels who also lost their jobs,” he said.

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