WINDHOEK: Luderitz Constituency Councillor Jan Scholtz has requested Labour and Social Welfare Minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko to come to the aid of some of the 330 employees fired from the NovaNam Fishing Company recently.
The employees were fired on 28 September this year after being found guilty of stealing 474 bags of fish from the company at the end of June this year.
“Some of us are innocent, we did not steal any fish from NovaNam, but we were fired. They should have punished those found with fish, not just everyone,” Theresia Shalimba, one of the employees who were given the boot, told Nampa in an interview earlier this month.
NovaNam took the internal decision to dismiss the employees after disciplinary hearings on the matter were concluded.
A copy of the official request received from Scholtz on Monday asks Ngatjizeko to step in to allow for ‘proper investigations’ so that only the guilty parties are fired.
At the same time, the request to relook the decision to fire all employees, including those who claim not to have stolen fish, was also forwarded to NovaNam Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Miguel Angel Tordesillas.
“Many of the affected workers are claiming that they were unfairly dragged into this saga. The majority of them are single mothers, and the sole breadwinners of their families,” the statement reads.
Scholtz explained that the workers approached his office to seek the Labour Minister’s intervention as they want to ensure that those who claim innocence get a chance to prove their innocence, as well as for a chance to be reinstated.
“Although theft cannot be condoned, we find it beyond comprehension that all 330 employees could be found guilty of stealing 474 bags of fish,” the politician noted.
Other women who spoke to this news agency earlier this month stated that they only clean equipment used in the handling of fish, and as such had no direct contact with the fish and could not have stolen anything.
The Secretary-General of the Namibia Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Nafau), Kiros Sackarias, confirmed to Nampa upon enquiry that the union has also appealed to NovaNam to reconsider this matter.
Other affected employees are represented by the Namibia Seamen and Allied Workers’ Union (Nasawu), which has likewise issued an appeal for the decision to be reconsidered.
Meanwhile, NovaNam has already hired new employees to replace those fired last month.