Embwinda Fishing employees hold peaceful demonstration

20 Sep 2019 11:20am
WALVIS BAY, 20 SEP (NAMPA) – Close to 150 employees at the Embwinda Fishing Factory in Walvis Bay on Thursday held a demonstration to express dissatisfaction with the alleged mistreatment of employees by the company’s management.
The workers under their union, the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union, said they were unhappy about the dismissal of more than 30 employees this year alone.
In a petition read on their behalf by their shop steward Julius Iyambo, they amongst others complained of the dismissal of 21 supervisors who were laid off on 30 August 2019.
“The supervisors were accused of refusing to work on 18 February 2019, a day on which employees were not expected to work, as communicated to them by management,” he said.
According to one of the dismissed employees Victoria Ruben, despite them being told that they would not be working, the workers on that day came to the factory in their ordinary clothing and did not bring along their personal protective equipment as they did not expect to work.
They were however later requested to report for work in the factory, which they opposed as it was against company policy to work without proper protective clothing.
“This led to our dismissal,” Ruben told the media.
Furthermore, the employees accused the management of forced labour, adding that there are often times that an individual employee is required to carry out duties meant for three people.
“The company also promised that it would permanently employ employees who have been working on a temporary basis for more than 10 years, however, that has not happened yet,” the petition further stated.
They, therefore, demanded the company to reinstate the supervisors as soon as possible as it is the company’s responsibility to provide safe working conditions to their employees, better working conditions and the immediate employment of contractual employees.
The petition was received by the company’s Managing Director Jose Reyero, who did not respond. Attempts by the media to get comment on the employees’ complaints also failed.
Trade Union Congress of Namibia President Paulus Hango, during the same demonstration, said the union was engaging the company and they expect responses by next week.