The Indian Ocean Tuna company has employed about 250 Seychellois workers in the past month, ensuring steady work during the COVID-19 economic crisis in Seychelles.
Mark Benoiton, the company's environment, health and safety manager, told reporters that the factory is looking for an additional 100 workers. He made this statement following a visit by President Danny Faure at the IOT factory on Friday.
"For years, one of our biggest challenges has been to attract Seychellois employees. I have been here for 17 years and this is the first time that I have seen people queuing at the door to come and work at IOT. During the pandemic, we have been working, and the president has given his appreciation to the workers," said Benoiton.
He added that IOT is looking for workers not only to deal with fish and for floor work but also to fill in posts in quality control, administration, and finance.
"IOT is providing steady employment as it is here to stay. We are offering people short term contracts. These apply for people whose employment has been affected for some time due to COVID-19. We are offering them a full-time job with on a six-month contract under which they get their full salary and annual leave," said Benoiton.
IOT currently employs 2,019 people, 68 percent of whom are foreigners and 32 percent are Seychellois. The manager outlined that along with the increase in the number of workers, the factory has also increased its production and tonnage.
Last year the factory was producing between 280 to 290 tonnes per day. Benoiton said that this year, IOT has slowly upped production as there has been an increase in demand from Europe.
"We are now producing between 330 to 335 tonnes per day and our target is to gradually increase to 400 tonnes per day by around September," continued Benoiton.
He said that this is not the first time that the factory has operated at this capacity, as production is driven greatly by demand.
"There are two other factories in our group that have closed down at the moment due to COVID-19 and we need to cover for them so the demand is high," said Benoiton.
IOT produces canned tuna under the brands of John West, Petit Navire and Mareblu which are exported to the UK, France and Italy respectively. The newest product being produced is fridge pot tuna steak under the John West brand. The product was introduced to the market in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, earlier this year and Benoiton said that sales are going well.