NovaNam fails to meet striking workers' demands

19 Dec 2013 15:30pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 19 DEC (NAMPA) – There appears to be no solution to the ongoing strike at the NovaNam Fishing company in Lüderitz as they allegedly refuse to meet employees’ demands.
A total of 1 400 employees in the bargaining unit downed tools on 27 November 2013, demanding benefits such as housing allowances and bonuses.
They are also demanding permanent employment for the ‘temporary’ employees who have been working for the company for periods ranging between two and 13 years.
Two meetings held last Thursday and Friday between NovaNam and the Namibia Food and Allied Workers’ Union (NAFAU) to try and reach some sort of agreement on the demands so that the strike could end, have failed.
Speaking to Nampa on Thursday, NAFAU branch organiser at Lüderitz, Jacob Penda said no agreement has been reached as the company refuses to consider any of the demands.
Penda said NovaNam did not provide reasons for their refusal, and that they have allegedly even decided that they will not appoint any employees permanently over the next three years.
“We are saying the company must give housing allowances and bonuses to all land and sea-going employees, because at the moment only some fishermen get N.dollars 500 bonuses every month,” he explained.
In previous negotiations, the company agreed to give a housing allowance of N.dollars 150 to permanent land-based employees only, and not to employees working on contract.
“We have accepted the N.dollars 150 housing allowances, but we demand that it should be given to everyone - sea-going, land-based, permanent as well as temporary employees,” he stated.
Penda further noted that the union wants to ensure that all employees are treated equally.
“It appears to me that those who receive benefits and bonuses are close to the management,” he added.
The strike will thus continue until the workers’ demands are met, although it is not known whether the company will return to the negotiation table anytime soon as no arrangements have been made in this regard, the unionist stated.
Calls to NovaNam’s acting Human Resources’ Manager, Francis Kawana continuously went unanswered.