The Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Hon Utoni Nujoma, accustomed certain provisions of basic conditions of employment and service for employees and employers in the fisheries industry after consultation with the labour advisory council.
According to a press statement issued on Thursday by the ministry’s public relation officer, Otniel Podewiltz, the variations were affected following an application by the employers in the fishing industry that was done with consent of the affected employees through their trade unions.
The variations came into force on 01 March 2023 and will remain in force for the next five years.
“The conditions of service that have been varied include the ordinary hours of work, overtime, meal intervals and daily spread-over and weekly rest period. This means that the provisions of the Labour Act as provided conditions, have been substituted by varied provisions,” said Podewiltz.
The variation is published in the Government Gazette of 1 March 2023 and gives effect to the provisions of the International Labour Organisation Convention 188 on work in fishing, which Namibia ratified in 2018.
The convention sets out to ensure that fishers have decent work on board fishing vessels with regard to minimum requirements for work on board, conditions of service; accommodation and food, occupational safety and health protection, medical care and social security.
Under the adjusted conditions, the new number of ordinary hours work is nine hours per day, provided such an employee works six hours or fewer days a week. In addition, fishers are entitled to a 30-minute break for a meal, after every five hours of continuous work.
The variation also stipulates changes in overtime allowing overtime of not more than 35 hours per week, or not more than five hours per day.
“Like in a normal situation, affected employees should first give consent before the employer seeks authorization from the Executive Director of the Ministry of Labour to perform overtime work,” he added.
In order to limit fatigue, the variation provides for a rest period of not less than 10 hour in any 24-hour period and 77 hours off duty in any 7-day period.
The fishers are further entitled to be paid shore leave of one full day off for every seven days worked at sea and a fraction of a day calculated on a pro-rata basis for less than seven days worked at sea, which the employer grants upon the return of a fisher from sea.
The Labour Act provides for the minister to exempt any employer or class of employers from any provisions of Basic Conditions of Employment except in terms of severance pay and dispute resolutions.