Oceana Namibia takes care of employees during Covid-19
The Oceana Namibia Group of Companies was pro-active to ensure that its employees, who have to work during the Covid-19 lockdown period, and their families are taken care of and are able to sustain their livelihoods during these difficult times.
The Oceana Group has a long history of operation in the Namibian fishing industry through its two subsidiaries Erongo Marine Enterprises (EME) and Commercial Cold Storage (CCS), and its associate company Etosha Fishing Corporation. The Group provides permanent jobs to more than 1000 local employees.
“We have all been called on to serve our country in these difficult times. We will do so with courage and perseverance. Your health and safety remain our top priority during this period,” Oceana Management said in a personalised message to its employees, which was distributed with food parcels to workers and their families during the past weeks. Care packs with essential items were given to crew aboard its vessels, while land-based employees received food parcels. Families of crew who are out at sea received food parcels delivered to their homes.
The Oceana Group also established a monetary fund that will benefit all employees who have made a contribution during these challenging times to ensure they are taken care of even beyond the immediate impact of Covid-19.
The Oceana Namibia Group of Companies expressed its commitment to uninterrupted food supply to the most vulnerable communities in Namibia and beyond, who at times of crisis such as is this, heavily rely on access to affordable food. All Group companies are directly involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and as such have been certified as essential service providers.
Oceana Group CEO Imraan Soomra in his message to all companies’ employees urged strict adherence to all health and safety protocols instituted by the Group, as well as that of Government and the relevant Local Authorities. He noted that staff safety, health and flattening the Covid-19 infection curve is a priority for the Group. “There is no doubt that the lockdown measures announced by Government will have deep and lasting economic effects, but our first priority must be to save lives. Businesses can be rebuilt and jobs regained but lives not,” said Soomra. Many employees of the Oceana Group, operating in Namibia, South African and the United States, have been hard at work throughout the Covid-19 lockdown to continue to secure and produce food.
“Our employees are the life-blood of our business, and our greatest asset. As an essential service food supplier, our employees continue to serve our country in these difficult times. Our first duty is, and will always be, to ensure that our employees and their families remain safe, are well taken care of and that we sustain their jobs,” EME Managing Director Dr Uumati said in a statement to EME employees. EME is a leading employer in the local horse mackerel sector. Most of EME’s workers opted to continue working on the company’s horse mackerel freezer trawlers, which are out at sea and effectively quarantined, instead of sitting at home on lockdown without earning a fishing commission.
Workers at Etosha Fishing’s cannery, the only remaining operational cannery in Namibia, have been at their posts to ensure sustained operations and food supply. CCS staff continue to provide an uninterrupted service in the distribution of frozen goods from its cold storage facility at Walvis Bay. All three companies have been recognised and certified as essential economic and food service providers by the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade as stipulated by Proclamation #9 issued by the President of the Republic of Namibia on 28 March 2020.
All Oceana Namibia companies operate under strict safety and precautionary measures to ensure that no staff member is potentially exposed to Covid-19. Standard operating procedures came into immediate effect with the implementation of the State of Emergency and outlines standardized directives in dealing with various scenarios during the lockdown and Covid-19 in general. Covid-19 committees monitor the situation as it unfolds and are ready to deal with any emergencies. General safety practices such as regular hand-washing and compulsory wearing of face masks and gloves are strictly implemented.