By: Ludorf Iyambo
Workers at Etosha Fishing Company have come out to condemn their company which they accuse of exploitation.
Equally, the workers call on the government to give them a quota.
“The problem we have been facing the past years is that our company is abusing us the seasonal employees in the sense that whenever there’s work; it doesn’t accommodate all of the employees, but it only accommodates a certain group of employees while the rest of employees are home until a certain time at the company decides when to call in the other group at home. “
According to Elise Muteka, a quality controller at Etosha Fishing Company, they can go for a year without being allowed to work.
She stressed that sometimes employees who already got an opportunity to work first end up going in for a second time, “yet there are those that never had an opportunity to work”.
“As I am talking to you now, some workers are still reporting for work, but some, including me, are not reporting for duties.”
She claimed that the workers were divided into three groups, and whenever there is work available, the company allows the first for three months; while the other two groups are at home.
“The bad thing is that we can wait for the whole year without being called on duty,” said Muteka.
The workers complained that sometimes the company gives them the excuses that the fish resources have been depleted.
“Late last year, we managed to get all employees to work at once. We worked only for eight days then the fish was finished, now this year they have taken us back to the divided groups which will only benefit some employees. We only want to work like we did last year, and if the available fish is finished, we all go home.”
Muteka said that when they worked last year, shifts started from 07h00-13h00, but now the working hours are being cut from 936 to 400.
She said they have no benefits at Etosha Fishing Company in Walvis Bay.
“We are suffering, honestly. I was hoping you could help get hold of the minister of fisheries, governor, mayor and council of Walvis Bay. Our company is busy exploiting us. The government must intervene. They must give us horse mackerel quotas if there are not enough pilchards in the sea. We have been fighting this issue with our union, but the injustices continue, and the company is aware of our crying, yet nothing is done”.
The Villager newspaper reached out to the Human Resources Officer, Geraldine Muteka, but she referred questions to their MD, Nezzet Beukus.
Beukus’ phone was not reachable.