Samherji JV made to pay over dismissals

A company owned by a subsidiary of the Icelandic seafood company and Namibian partners has been told to remunerate workers it had unfairly dismissed.

07 July 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

The unfair dismissal of the Samherji-owned vessel the Heinaste’s crew in 2018 has come back to haunt local subsidiary Arctic Nam, who will now have to make a combined payment of N$407 124 to the crew members.

The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) succeeded in having Arctic Nam pay 23 crew members who had been unfairly dismissed through the Office of the Labour Commissioner.

Reacting to the ruling, the NUNW’s Philip Munenguni said it was a victory for the dismissed workers.

“This judgement is directed towards Samherji management who are the cause for the loss of employment of the crew members,” he said.

Hold them to account

Munenguni urged concerted effort to see Samherji being held accountable in the crew members’ loss of income.

“Samherji cannot just apologise, they have caused a lot of damage. These are the people who were affected by Fishrot. What will Sanherji do with these employees? They are the ones who caused the damage,” he asked.

According to him, the recent judgement by the Labour Commissioner was but one step, with Munenguni warning that the matter could be taken as far as the High Court.

“If Samherji will not pay, we will not stop here, we will go to the higher courts,” he said.

Arbitration findings

The Labour Commissioner found that Arctic Nam did not provide proof that it had faced financial or mechanical problems when the workers were dismissed.

Arctic Nam had further not provided any evidence and had waived its right to be heard, the ruling found.

As a consequence, Arctic Nam was ordered to pay all the applicants 12 months of lost income, which translates to N$73 080 or N$6 090 monthly for crewmen, N$79 164 or N$6 597 monthly for deckhands, N$157 500 or N$13 125 monthly for motormen and N$97 380 or N$8 115 monthly for carpenters.

The Labour Commissioner further ordered that the payment be made on or before 30 July.

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