Tebogo Msimanga |
Nearly one thousand two hundred(1200) members from the Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FAWU) employed by Oceana Fishing at their Lucky Star and Amawandle Pelagic operations in St. Helena’s Bay and Laaiplek on the West Coast are on strike.
This is the 7th day of a protected strike after wage talks failed at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
FAWU media liaison officer, Dominique Martin said their members had no other alternative but to dispute adverse changes in their working conditions. “Earlier wage talks between the parties had failed to reach an agreement as the employer is attempting to unilaterally enforce conditions of employment and restructure the business.”
Martin said to this end, Oceana is proposing a salary freeze, suspension of salary or wage increases only for the 2021/2022 financial year. “This will simply worsen the crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality in these fishing communities. Oceana intends to downgrade employees’ status from permanent employees to seasonal workers.
FAWU further said it will not just sit back without a fight. “Employees in the fishing sector are vulnerable workers who are, in most instances are completely dependent on the income from seasonal work and is out there fighting for their and their families’ survival.”