11 Apr 2019 16:10pm
SWAKOPMUND, 11 APR (NAMPA) Etosha Fishing Corporation has retrenched 19 employees following the companys decision to sell three of its purse seine vessels due to poor catches in foreign waters.
The three vessels are the Prowess, Advance and Morgenster.
Etosha Fishings Acting Managing Director Nezette Beukes explained in a media release on Thursday the three-year ban on local pilchard catches imposed in 2018 left the company with no other choice but to deploy its purse seine vessels to neighbouring Angola and other foreign fishing grounds in an effort to sustain jobs and the running costs of these vessels.
Low catch rates have compounded the financial burden of operating our vessels in foreign waters, which has left the company with no other choice but to sell all our purse seine vessels, she said.
The company is therefore no longer in a position to provide employment to the crew of these vessels, she added.
Some of the employees affected are net workers who were initially informed of the possible retrenchments as early as December 2018.
Formal notification was also issued to the Office of the Labour Commissioner as we wanted to make sure that our employees are well informed from the start of the process to avoid any uncertainty and to ensure transparency throughout the process, Beukes said.
The statement further read that the Namibian Seamen and Allied Workers Union Vice President Epson Kavekuire, who conducted negotiations on behalf of the workers in January, stressed that although the union strongly opposed any job losses, Etosha was caught in a very difficult position.
He nonetheless expressed satisfaction with the manner in which the process was concluded.
Etosha Fishing however still operates one vessel, the Lona, which was converted into a refrigerated seawater vessel cost in 2018, in order to be able to fish in local waters.
The fishing company has in the process landed the horse mackerel fresh for processing at its cannery in Walvis Bay.
Etosha Fishing operates the oldest cannery in Namibia and currently employs 44 permanents and close to 550 seasonal staff at its cannery.