Hango breathes fire

16 November 2021 | Fishing

The Namibia Seaman and Allied Workers Union (NASAWU) says it intends to start with the mobilisation and organisation of demonstrations, demanding for better housing for workers in the fishing industry.

NASAWU president Paulus Hango did not mince words in his speech addressed to the minister of fisheries during the sector’s annual address in Walvis Bay.

“We demand that companies in the industry build decent houses for employees and the municipality give each fishing company a piece of land to build houses for its employees.”

Hango said many workers in the fishing industry do not have proper accommodation.

To this effect, the union is prioritising the provision of housing during negotiations and committees tasked with negotiating with employers to construct houses for employees that were established at some companies.

According to Hango, many companies have told NASAWU that they have asked the municipality of Walvis Bay to give them undeveloped land to construct houses for their employees.

“However, their requests are not being taken seriously. Some requested meetings with council, but to no avail. They produced correspondence on the matter and it is clear there is no will to address the housing crisis in Walvis Bay.”

He said the prevailing situation has given the union leadership and its members sleepless nights.

“Our patience is running out. Business cannot continue as usual. We cannot justify having workers sleeping in ghettos while the fishing industry generates billions of Namibia dollars every year.”

Hango also lambasted an employing practise he termed “flex fixed temporal employees” within the industry and demanded an end to it.

He explained that some companies divide employees in two groups.

“One group consists of permanent employees and the other is known as flex fixed temporal employees. The so-called flex fixed temporal contract employees are about 40 percent of the total workforce in some companies, while others have a few temporal employees. NASAWU wants every employee who has a permanent position to be employed permanently.”

Hango said in order to bring an end to the employment of temporal employees, unions are now negotiating for a basic salary as a minimum monthly salary.

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