Trade unions lobby for fishing quotas for employees

18 Feb 2018 13:20pm
WALVIS BAY, 18 FEB (NAMPA) – Trade union leaders in the fishing industry want their members to be given fishing rights and quotas by their employers.
Speaking at the annual state of fisheries address here on Friday, Sakes Shikongo, a representative of the Namibian Food and Allied Workers Union, said the allocation of rights and quotas will reduce the income gap between employers and employees.
“This will also allow for the equal distribution of wealth. We also demand fair treatment of our members by some employees who mistreat them,” he said, adding that this will further encourage workers to work hard.
He also asked that marginalised communities receive quotas.
President of the Namibia Seamen and Allied Workers' Union, Paulus Hango, who doubles as the president of the Trade Union Congress of Namibia, also suggested that workers receive quotas through a trust fund.
Hango said the income from the quotas could then be channelled through benefits such as workers’ housing provision.
“Employees sleep in tiny, overcrowded shacks without electricity and toilets. We need to address this situation as a matter of urgency,” Hango remarked.
His other concern is job losses through retrenchments as a result of low catches due to the depletion of pilchards over the past two years.
He suggested that a horse mackerel quota be allocated to companies that retrenched employees in an effort to save their jobs.
Another speaker at the event was the chairperson of the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations, Matti Amukwa, who said there should be no delays in quota allocation.
This, he said, delays the work at factories and as such, slows down the economy.
He said the lapsing of 107 fishing rights between last year and this year created uncertainty because companies are not sure if fishing rights will be allocated to them again.
Amukwa also highlighted the issue of illegal fishing by foreign vessels in Namibian waters, which he said should be looked at.
“Now more than ever, the fishing industry needs confidence to proceed in the future. These concerns and many others clearly demonstrate we need confidence,” he said.
At the same ceremony, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhardt Esau, also delivered the official state of fisheries address.