Eveline de Klerk
Walvis Bay-About 250 casual workers are currently camping in front of Namport after they were apparently laid off by the company on Wednesday.
The casual workers, some of whom have been with Namport since 2000, told New Era the termination of their jobs came as a shock.
Oiva Shinana, who spoke on behalf of the group, said they received termination of service letters on Wednesday morning when they reported for duty at the harbour.
“The letters stated that Namport will not be needing our services anymore and thus we don’t need to report for duty,” he explained.
According to Shinana some of the casuals were packing fish in boxes for shipping while others assisted with the loading and offloading of heavy machinery when they were informed of the bad news.
“We were told that the company is not making any profit especially when it comes to the fishing side and that it was best that they close that division,” Shinana explained.
He said they do not want Namport to create jobs as they know its current economic situation.
“We just want them to compensate us so that we have something to live on until we find another job,” he said.
According to him, Namport paid them every Friday for services they rendered. “It is now a real struggle for us as we have bills to pay and families to feed,” he said.
However, Bisey Uirab, the CEO of Namport, when contacted for comment told New Era that the firm did not lay off anyone.
“We did not lay off anyone – we just don’t have any jobs for them and we simply informed them that we won’t be calling them anymore,” Uirab said.
He explained that Namport never employed the casuals and that they were recruited to pack fish at the port, however the fishing companies are now doing that by themselves.
“So there is nothing for them to do around here. We cannot compensate them as they were not in our employment, “ Uirab said.