Walvis Bay — A heart-broken fisherman from Walvis Bay says his former employers are reluctant to pay him out following an injury he sustained while on duty.
The 51-year-old Laban Ananias had one of his testicles surgically removed following a freak accident on June 20, 2015 and has been in constant pain ever since. The accident happened while he was employed as a fisherman by Merlus Seafood processors under Nexus Fishing.
"I was busy throwing a fishing net into the sea when a strong current hit the vessel. As a result I was slammed very hard against an iron pole and injured my testicles," he explained. According to Ananias, the company paid for his medical expenses as he was in and out of hospital after the accident.
"I was in constant pain and as a result doctors had no choice but to remove my testicle this year. Since the accident I could also not do any heavy-duty jobs, as in the past," narrated the fisherman.
Papers seen by New Era also confirm that Ananias as well as the company were cautioned against him doing any hard manual jobs and he need to permanently use medication.
"The company then decided that I should just work at the office. To my surprise, my salary was cut from N$3,500 to N$1,500 and I could simply not survive on such as salary, "Ananias explained. He said in a desperate attempt to earn more money he decided to return as a fisherman, despite the doctor's orders.
"I was supposed to leave last month, but I decided not to as my life would be at risk. I informed the company and the union accordingly, but to my surprise I was served with a disciplinary hearing notice last week by the company after I told them that they should compensate me for my long service and injury," he said.
He now accuses his employer of using delaying tactics. The company also served him with a summons to a disciplinary hearing notice after he decided not to go back to sea. In response, he has since lodged a complaint at the Ministry of Labour.
Contacted for comment, office manager of Merlus Seafood Marlene Kaemphfer said she was not at liberty to discuss the matter, as it is being dealt internally.