Swakopmund — Government is hoping 1 100 fishermen who lost their jobs during the 2015 illegal strike as well as casual employees who have been retrenched over the years, will be absorbed by the fishing industry before 1 November.
Cabinet last year resolved to facilitate the re-employment of the Namsov fishermen as well as those who went on an illegal strike. Labour minister Utoni Nujoma on Friday told journalists at Swakopmund they are hoping to finalise the process as soon as possible after attending lengthy negotiations with unions and fishing companies to facilitate the process.
According to Nujoma, at least six fishing companies have agreed to employ the fishermen while the government also availed 1 300 metric tons of hake for the process.
"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 added that the process should have been concluded already, however, Covid-19 as well as the distortion of the names on the fishermen's list resulted in the delay. So far, only 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.
"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," Nujoma said. 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 various vessels who also lost their jobs," he said.