Marching for minimum wage

About 300 fishermen marched to Nafua and Nasawu offices to hand over petitions demanding that the unions speak the truth when it comes to employee issues.

03 December 2018 | Fishing

Chairperson of United Fishermen, Mathew Langameni, “We want the union to establish a minimum wage like it was done for domestic workers.”

The United Fishermen held a peaceful demonstration to hand over petitions to the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau), Namibia Seamen and Allied Workers Union (Nasawu) as well as the Namibia Fishing Industries and Fishermen Workers Union (NFI and FWU) on Wednesday afternoon.

The workers said they have been engaging with Nafau, Nasawu, NFI and FWU since 2014 to establish a minimum wage for all fishermen.

According to Mathew Lungameni, chairperson of the United Fishermen, in the petition to Nafua the workers are demanding that the union organiser fight for the workers' rights and not for their own interests.

“In the past Nafau was not willing to assist the fishermen to be paid overtime, but now they have taken a company to court over the same matter and forgot about the workers who started demanding overtime in the first place. We want the union to establish a minimum wage like it was done for domestic workers. The union must speak the truth when it comes to employee issues and the employees must be respected, since they are the backbone of this country. ”

“If you have the nation at heart, you must fight for the right of the workers, not for your own interests. We are very disappointed in the way Nasawu has signed a memorandum of understanding at Swakopmund in 2015 without the fishermen being present, while the ministry of labour directs the permanent secretary to come to us and solve the problem.

“You shift meetings from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund without the workers' consent. You even took some ordinary fishermen from the street to go and represent workers, but they are not shop stewards.” Lungameni added that 23 fishermen have died during these two years. “The majority of them either died from high blood pressure or committed suicide, due to the stress of this situation.”

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