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Over 2400 former fishermen re-employed under GERP after Cabinet gives green light

Over 2400 former fishermen re-employed under GERP after Cabinet gives green light

By Adolf Kaure.

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Hon Derek Klazen said that all affected fishermen, who lost their work due to an illegal strike in 2015, have been employed following Cabinet directives.

He said this during a media briefing last Friday in Windhoek, which provided an update on the status of the employment of fishermen under the Government Employment Redressing Programme (GERP) in the fishing industry.

The affected fishermen, who are known as the “Okapale Fishermen” based on their frequent demonstrations outside Walvis Bay’s Kuisebmond Stadium since being laid off, have been employed mainly in the Hake and Horse Mackerel industries.

In total, 2483 ex-fishermen have been absorbed through the programme. From this, 550 have been placed in the horse mackerel sub-sector and 1933 in the hake sub-sector against a tonnage of 18,370 Metric Tonnes of hake and 16,500 Metric Tonnes of horse mackerel, respectively.

The Cabinet decision resolved and directed the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation to secure full-time and permanent employment of specified former NAMSOV employees and those who lost their employment within the fishing industry during 2015.

“This is simply the renewal of the designation agreements with designated companies.” “Concerning the agreements, the performance of the designated companies is assessed to determine whether there is full compliance. In this instance we found companies to be fully compliant,” said the minister.

Despite this, he noted some exceptions to the compliance as a few challenges were picked up. The challenges are receiving their utmost attention. “This includes limited employment opportunities within the fishing industry resulting in non-gainful employment of the fishermen.”

“There also exists a feeling of entitlement by the fishermen and disrespectful attitude to employers, resulting in the employees dictating the type of work they want to do, [their] workstations and continuously threatening employers with mass resignation, mass demonstration and that the quota belongs to them.”

“However, the designation agreements do not afford fishermen the right to choose where to be placed as the agreements only require the placement of fishermen wherever an opportunity for placement arises,” he said.


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