WALVIS BAY, 28 OCT (NAMPA) -
Nasawu on Tuesday strongly condemned a statement by Nanlo that it misrepresents its members who now want to join Nanlo.
The president of the Namibia Seamen and Allied Workers' Union (Nasawu), Paulus Hango was responding to a petition by some 900 fishermen during a peaceful demonstration led by the Namibia National Labour Organisation (Nanlo) and affiliate Mining, Metal, Maritime and Construction (MMMC) Union.
The fishermen from various companies at the harbour town stopped work on Monday, demanding better salaries, overtime and medical care at sea, amongst other grievances.
During a media conference on Tuesday, Hango did not mince his words when he said the workers are being misled by Nanlo president Evilastus Kaaronda and MMMC's regional organiser in Erongo Immanuel Petrus because they want to recruit them.
In what he called an 'unacceptable move' of a union petitioning another union, Hango said Kaaronda and Petrus must not tell Nasawu what to do.
"If they want to recruit our members they must not do so by manipulating and lying to them. Nanlo and MMMC can also not come here and hand over a so-called petition. That strike is illegal and workers might be dismissed," said Hango.
He went on to say Kaaronda 'messed up at the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW)' from which he was dismissed in 2013. Hango questioned why Kaaronda thinks he can do better at Nanlo when he could not do it at NUNW.
He said he has been a NUNW secretary-general for many years, yet failed to solve the same issues he accuses Nasawu of not solving. "If you want to best represent workers do not wait until you are dismissed," said Hango.
He stated that the members are paid good salaries and receive medical aid. Hango further stressed that even if they are not paid overtime, they receive a good guaranteed salary of between N.dollars 4 800 and 15 000, which is 'very favourable' in terms of the labour law.
"Petrus himself who is making noise earns more than N.dollars 10 000, now he is trying to mislead our members because he does not understand how things work," Hango alleged.
Approached for comment, Kaaronda first said: "I will not respond to these statements. They are below the belt and not worth my time". He later said he is just a union leader who represents employees and that his past at NUNW or present does not matter.
"What workers say is what they feel. If Hango thinks it is not true he must speak to them, not to me," said Kaaronda. Petrus, who spoke on behalf of the striking fishermen, said there is no way workers will leave Nasawu if they are well represented.
He insisted that he and other fishermen will continue to ask for better salaries and overtime. "Of course they misrepresent people, so Hango must man up and accept it. Instead of responding to workers he calls the media," he said.
Petrus confirmed that 180 people joined the strike on Tuesday. "We will not go to work until they give us a favourable answer," Petrus said.