Punitive measures recommended against fishing companies – The Namibian
A committee called SELECT of the National Assembly recommended that punitive measures be taken against fishing companies who break the commitments under the governmental employment remedying programme.
Tjekero Tweya was the chair of the committee. He called on Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MOFMR) to include a punitive clause into any future designation agreements with fishing businesses.
The recommendation was made in a Tuesday report by the committee that was presented to the National Assembly.
The report is part a larger investigation into the mass resignations of fishermen employed under the governmental employment remedying program.
“The companies, who will be awarded quotas for permanent employment of affected fishermen, should forfeit such opportunities should they fail to deliver and honour the designation agreements,” the committee recommended.
It stated that the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation and fisheries ministry should ensure strict enforcement of all agreements. Last month, Derek Klazen, fisheries minister, briefed parliament about the mass resignations of 612 fishermen from various fishing companies, including Cavema Fishing Joint Venture and Hodago Fishing.
The fishermen received a monthly salary of N$4000. In 2020, 645 fishermen were unemployed when the government entered into employment agreements through the ministries for fisheries and labor.
To employ the men who lost work in 2015, the companies were given fishing quotas to fish for horse mackerel & hake.
More than 600 fishermen quit in August due to a lack of permanent employment opportunities by fishing companies that were granted quotas by the government to employ them.
“The mass resignation was fuelled by the fishermen’s search for active and permanent employment and better salaries,” said the four-member parliamentary committee.
A select committee was formed in accordance to Rule 54 (3) of the Standing Rules. It was created to investigate the mass resignations and to examine the conditions of service.
The committee recommended that the companies immediately reinstate the fishermen in question until the end of the fishing season. This includes back pay for September/October.
The report states that fishing companies are reluctantly employing fishermen indefinitely because of the renewal of the designation agreements each year.
“This led to the companies offering the fishermen fixed-term employment, claiming it was not possible for their company to hire or buy a vessel in one year of the agreement,” the committee found.
According to the committee, the fishing companies want the government support in setting up value-adding factories and introducing new species.
The committee has asked the two ministries to examine a proposal from Walu Fishing Investments. This proposal would offer to absorb the fishermen who are affected.
Annely Haiphene, the executive director of fisheries and marine resource, said that Walu’s proposal was not acceptable because the company has fishing rights.
The majority of the company is Namibian-owned and has two joint venture holders of fishing rights. It requested the allocation of 3650 metric tonnes of fishquota under the government objective classification.