Seafarers meet with Prime Minister

23 Oct 2014 12:40pm
WINDHOEK, 23 OCT (NAMPA) – A delegation of Namibian Seafarers United met with Prime Minister Hage Geingob on Tuesday to bring complaints they have about the fishing sector to his attention.
The delegation under the leadership of Namibian Seafarers United Chairperson, Immanuel Petrus spoke to Geingob, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Alpheus Muheua and senior representatives from his offices, among them Labour Commissioner Bro-Matthew Shinguadja.
Among the issues raised by Petrus are low salaries, a lack of overtime payment and the calculation of commission.
He told Nampa shortly after the meeting that in the past the skippers received a salary, while the fishermen on board a fishing vessel were paid commission depending on the amount of fish caught.
“In the past we were illiterate and did not know the labour laws. The employees used that opportunity against us, but now we know the labour law and we will not take it anymore,” Petrus stated.
He also told the gathering that he wrote several letters to the Labour Ministry but allegedly did not received any response, hence their decision to request a meeting with the Prime Minister to try and find a solution to their problems. Should their grievances not be addressed, the fishermen might consider striking, he said.
Muheua however refuted Petrus’s allegations, saying the ministry has it on record that they corresponded with the union and even sent labour inspectors to investigate the claims.
The team was dispatched after Namibian Seafarers United handed over a petition to the office of the Labour Ministry in Walvis Bay on 03 October.
“We have it on record that a number of meetings took place between the various parties (the Labour Ministry and union). My minister (Doreen Sioka) will tell you how many calls she received, even at home after hours, from them,’ he told this news agency.
Meanwhile, Petrus said a meeting involving the two parties is scheduled to take place at the offices of the ministry in Khomasdal on Thursday. The meeting is slated for 14h00.