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13.01.2005 General News

Plight of fishermen in labour discussed

By GNA

Tema, Jan 13, GNA - An official of an NGO has appealed to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to take immediate steps to constitute local unions for all sailors or revamp existing ones to ensure their job security. Mr Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio, Executive Secretary of the Corporate Social Responsibility Movement (CSRM), an environmental non-governmental organisation based at Tema, said research indicated that sailors work under serious constraints and without job security.

He said the research, conducted with financial support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, showed that fishing companies deprive their sailors of job satisfaction.

Mr Amarfio said most of the complaints by the sailors and artesian fishermen include unfair labour practices, poor remuneration, unsafe working environment and inadequate medical attention.

Based on the plight of the fishermen, the CSRM plans to take measures to relieve them of their predicament.

The NGO hopes to develop a deeper insight into the condition under which crew of industrial fishing companies are handled to help bring some levels of conformity into the fishing industry.

The CSRM is to liaise with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to educate the sailors on their rights and responsibilities concerning their social security contributions.

Meanwhile, the Canoe Fisheries Association at Tema has decided to block entries to the Tema Fishing Harbour to prevent the members of the Inshore Fisheries Association from taking their catch out.

The canoe fishermen have also warned fishmongers not to buy fish from the inshore fishermen whom they accused of contravening persistent calls to stop using light for fishing.

Nii Adjeiteh Mator, Chief Canoe Fisherman of Tema told the GNA that the canoe fishermen approached him with the threat that if the government failed to enforce the ban on the use of light for fishing they would clash with the inshore fishermen on the high seas.

Nii Mator said the canoe fishermen could not look unconcerned while the inshore fishermen adopted the lighting system to catch all the fishes to the disadvantage of the canoe fishermen, thus depriving them of their livelihood.

Two years ago the Ministry of Food and Agriculture banned the use of light for fishing.

However, the inshore fishermen did not comply with the directives and continue to adopt the practice that allows the light to brighten an area of operation to attract more fishes.

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