Low fish stocks lead to job losses
A steep decline in imports and exports and consequently, the volumes of cargo through the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) will lead to job cuts, according to a statement released by Namport.
Temporary jobs at Namport will be discontinued in what the company said is an ongoing drive to ensure business sustainability, employment preservation and meaningful returns for shareholders.
According to the statement most of the casual workers were deployed in repacking fish at the Port of Walvis Bay, and the company said this operation has in turn, over the years been handled by the Authority on behalf of the owners of the fish catches.
“It must be repeated that the said casual workers were never at any point under formal employment contracts with Namport but were used on an ad hoc basis dependent upon fish volumes which required repacking,” the statement from Namport read, repeating that the company does not view the cutting of jobs as a retrenchment exercise but has ceased rendering fish repacking services which were deemed not cost effective and possibly could have place the 964 other permanent workforce at risk of unemployment.
Namport has been cutting cost to streamline and improve efficiency due to recent slumps in commodity and oil prices, the strengthening of the United States dollar against the local currency and increasing interest rates.
“Over the years, Namports operations, given their seasonality and fluctuations in throughput volumes, have been manned by casual workers who were sourced on an as and when needed,” the satement read.
However, as part of the ongoing cost containment drive and following an in-depth cost benefit analysis, it was considered untenable to continue rendering the fish handling service on behalf of the fishing companies, Namport added
The casual workers have been notified that Namport would not be calling on their services as they are considered as casual workers who were previously deployed to the operation on an “as and when needed basis.”
Namport said that it is unfortunate that the causal workers insist on their services being retained despite the absence of work to which they can be deployed. The causal workers have in the meantime lodged a complaint against Namport with the Labour Commissioner’s Office and the Authority will have to go through the legal process itself on the dispute resolution process.