Sea Flower Pelagic Processing is set to lose a whopping N$12 million monthly on account of its failure to secure a fishing quota while plans to expand its workforce to 1 100 have now been shelved.
Sea Flower is one of the biggest players in the local fishing sector.
Contrary to expanding its labour force, Sea Flower has now been forced to issue Section 30 notices to 659 of its workers, which in simple language, means their contracts will no more be renewed by the end of this month.
The company, despite a strategic partnership with government, has failed to secure a quota from the government while on the other hand, Novanam, another fishing giant secured one in a matter of hours after announcing it would let go of 1 800 workers.
A company official who is privy to the goings-on at Sea Flower has told Eagle FM anonymously ordinary work hours for staff have now been reduced while salaries have been cut by 50%.
During the first round of the hard lockdown, the company ceased operations but what has also raised eye-brows is that Sea Flower enjoys a strategic partnership with the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia Fishcor.
Matthew Simasiku, a company shop-steward said some of the fishermen were already home adding that desperate attempts to get the attention of the fisheries and marine resources minister, Albert Kawana have been made.
“I would like to inform you that I am one of the shop stewards for Sea Flower Pelagic Processing and I am talking on behalf of our co-subordinates who are not here. The company is in a joint venture with Fishcor and it is having 620 workers that are to be laid off because of the insufficiency of quota. We have tried to contact the minister of fisheries by all means sending him letters, we went to the Prime Minister and up to the President but as we speak, we did not get any response,” he said.
At the same time, Sea Flower continues to be embroiled in the Fishrot scandal with accusations that it benefited from the dirty money.
There is a strong suspicion that this could be the reason why the government was quick to act on giving Novanam a quota when it announced that it could retrench 1 800 workers.
“To be honest with you, there are those that would like to accuse us due to jealousy and competitiveness. To say just because the government is a 40% shareholder that we are linked to Fishrot and that kind of thing. I can categorically say to you that we are not. We are open for investigations which are not taking place. There are not enough jobs in this country and we are creating jobs,” said the MD.
But the company has been slammed for not making a majority of its general workers permanent.
“The general workers were supposed to be employed on a permanent basis by July which did not happen because we do not have cash,” he said.