Venaani continues to sympathise with fired fishermen

07 Dec 2017 08:10am
WALVIS BAY, 07 DEC (NAMPA) - President of the Popular Democratic Movement, McHenry Venaani promised to continue siding with more than 1 000 fishermen who lost their jobs here in October 2015 after embarking on an illegal strike.
This group has since been camping outside the Kuisebmond Sports Stadium, continuing demands for their jobs back and to be paid according to the Labour Act 11 of 2007, which includes overtime, 6 per cent night allowance, and to work continuous shifts.
They said the reason they went on strike was because they were not paid according to the Act since it was implemented in 2008.
After a failed promise he made to the group last year to organise a national demonstration for unemployed people in solidarity with the fishermen, Venaani returned to them on Wednesday and gave them a similar promise.
He said this time he will go further to assist them to have a labour case heard in court and also approach the Office of the Ombudsman so that they can be helped.
“I will continue to be here for them, because it appears the government does not think of its people,” the leader of the official opposition told the media.
He said even if the strike was illegal, an amicable solution should be found between the industry and the group.
“It was done in other countries such as South Africa where workers strike illegally, but a solution was found; why not in Namibia?” he questioned.
Venaani further asked when a Namibian worker can strike up a conversation without fear of losing their job due to circumstances surrounding their actions.
Meanwhile, the group’s spokesperson, Matheus Lungameni attempted to bar journalists from reporting on the issue.
Citing prolonged abandonment by the media, the fishermen refused to speak to journalists and told them to leave, because they allegedly do not help them.
“We do not need you anymore; every time you come here to interview us, but we do not see those stories. We are abandoned so it is better we stay without the media too,” Lungameni told reporters.
After a conversation with Venaani, the fishers agreed to allow journalists to cover the meeting.