Refusal of the companies to negotiate have lead more than 4000 fishermen in the provinces of Walvis Bay and Luderitz to strike, protesting against 21-hour working shifts on the vessels, appalling living conditions and demanding recognition of the Metal, Mining, Maritime and Construction Workers’ Union (MMMC), affiliated to the NANLO trade union center.
The companies still refused to negotiate and hired scabs. The workers kept on protesting and demanding their rights, gathering together daily. On December 5th, 2015, a group of companies, namely Hangana Sea Food, Overberg Fishing, Rainbow Trawling, Embwinda Fishing, Tunacor Fisheries, Corvima Fishing, Beluga Fishing, Sea Flower Whitefish Corporation, Novanam Ing, Benguella Sea Products took the striking fishermen to court on charges of harassment and intimidation.
On April 7th, 2016 the court refused to admit the workers’ affidavits, issued an order that the workers should not approach the companies’ premises closer than 100 metres and ruled that the union leaders should pay the companies’ legal costs. In response the workers launched the United Fishermen campaign and in October 2016 MMMC and NANLO submitted formal complaint to the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association against the governement of Namibia for failure to ensure workers rights for organisation and collective bargaining.