DTA’s Venaani accused of politically exploiting “fired” fishermen

The Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations expressed disappointment on Wednesday in the approach taken by DTA leader, McHenry Venaani, whom it says is politically exploiting the situation of some 1500 fishermen who lost their jobs in recent months over an illegal strike.

Venaani last week in Walvis Bay threatened to mobilise a nation-wide unemployment march should these fishermen not be re-employed after they embarked on a long dragged out wildcat strike in solidarity with a trade union turf war in November last year.
Mr Matti Amukwa, Chairmen of the confederation, pointed out these fishermen, who lost their jobs, have been replaced in the meantime by new employees.
The striking fishermen deserted their positions on the fishing fleet since the strike started in November last year.
Amukwa was adamant it would be irresponsible and unfair to retrench these newly employed seamen in order to re-employ those workers who followed the illegal strike. “It is also relevant to note that the irresponsibility of those seamen not only affected their work, but also threatened the livelihood of thousands of other Namibians employed in the land based factories in Walvis Bay and Lüderitz”, Amukwa said.
According to Amukwa, the fishing companies have at all times engaged constructively with the government and all the recognized unions to address the complaints of the aggrieved seamen and to resolve the situation; despite of the significant damage and losses caused by the unexpected and illegal strike.
“We also firmly dismiss the allegations made about foreign nationals. The number of foreigners employed are very limited and substantially decreasing over the years,” Amukwa added.
In response to demands made by Venaani, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernard Esau, also yesterday commented in Walvis Bay yesterday during the discussion of the new quota system to be implemented.
“There is a law, the labour act, and this law regulates between employer and employee. As far as my knowledge, that law was followed by the employers in this case. At the end of the day, with a concluding action comes a reaction. How can jobs be demanded after illegally engaging in a strike? I cannot comprehend what Venaani is doing. We are trying to manage our fish resources in a prudent and sound basis”, Esau commented, in what is a rare instance where the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources throws its weight 100 % behind the fishing industry on an issue where job losses are involved.
Esau lambasted Venaani’s actions are political in the sense of trying to score points.

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