Over 1000 fishermen to be re-employed through GERP

Seven fishing companies in Walvis Bay are currently in the process of obtaining lists of fishermen to be re-employed through the Government Employment Redress Programme (GERP).

This was announced by Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Derek Klazen, at a media conference held in Walvis Bay on Friday, which follows several consultations between the companies and employee representatives in Walvis Bay over the past two days.

According to the minister, the companies, which include three in the hake and four in the horse mackerel sub-sectors, will then receive letters from the ministry, indicating the volume of fish quotas equal to the number of jobs they are providing to enter into employment contracts with them.

The fishermen in question are part of the about 1000 who lost their jobs in 2015 aboard numerous fishing vessels following their participation in an illegal industrial strike, now referred to as the Okapale fishermen.

The group also includes fishermen who were laid off from Namsov, owing to a 48 per cent cut of its horse mackerel quota in 2015 and over 200 more who lost their employment after being abandoned by two fishing vessels operating under the Icelandic Company Samherji, namely Saga and Geysir in 2020.

“Persuaded by the ordeal of these fishermen, cabinet then directed the ministry to establish mechanisms on how to address the plight of the affected fishermen who lost their jobs.

Cabinet thereafter directed that the ministry employs a public and transparent process, which will culminate in the appointment of competed companies able to uptake all the workers on a full-time and permanent basis,” Klazen said.

The seven companies were therefore successful after demonstrating their capacities and readiness to provide the required jobs.

According to Klazen, 6224 hake and 11 250 horse mackerel quotas has been allocated to these companies, who will be expected to pay the over 1000 fishermen’s first salaries by end of July 2023.

“I want to reiterate that the government has really done all it can to ensure that these workers are re-employed. Therefore, should one resign or get dismissed from employment due to misconduct, this will mean the end of participation and there will not be any more opportunity for you,” he cautioned.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency