Namibia: 290 Striking Fishermen to Get Jobs Nearly Six Years Later

SOME 290 striking fishermen at the Ongulumbashe field in Kuisebmond at Walvis Bay, who remain unemployed after five years and eight months, will soon finally return to work.

This is after the governor of the Erongo region, Neville Andre, informed them on Wednesday that he is currently negotiating with a fishing company to absorb all of them.

“We are engaging one of the fishing companies which agreed to take you all up. They initially wanted to take 200, but after further engagement they agreed to take all of you,” Andre said to the delight of the emotionally drained men.

Some 4 000 fishermen from Merlus Fishing’s Walvis Bay and L├╝deritz operations went on strike in 2015 demanding overtime time and night allowances.

They have since then been meeting at the open field every day.

Their strike was later declared illegal and resulted in them losing their jobs. In 2018 the group was joined by Namsov fishermen who were retrenched due to slashed horse mackerel quotas.

The group grew bigger over the years as companies, such as Erongo Marine, had to retrench workers for the same reason.

This was worsened by the departure of Chinese fishing company Pacific Andes Group and Iceland’s Samherji.

Many of the men have since taken up employment elsewhere.

This left about 885 fishermen at the field, of which 645 were re-employed by Cavema Fishing.

Over 28 fishermen have since died, while more than 36 have retired and five are now living with disabilities.