DESPITE a quiet year in the squid industry, Pioneer Fishing is paying out R3.5-million in profit shares to all its employees, including those working for subsidiary company Eyethu Fishing in Port Elizabeth.
Pioneer Fishing executive chairman Stephen Dondolo yesterday said the fact that the company had diversified and started exporting fish meal and oil had contributed a lot to the successful payout to the employees.
"We are praying for a better squid [chokka] season when the season opens as the past financial year has been very quiet. However, we are able to hand over the cheque for the profit share to our Eastern Cape employees today because we diversified ... Exports contributed a lot to the realisation of this payout," Dondolo said.
Other than squid, fishmeal and oil Pioneer Fishing, a trawling and fish processing business, also trades in hake, pilchards, anchovies and South Coast rock lobster. In the Eastern Cape, profit shares will be paid to 91 employees who work for Eyethu Fishing. In the Western Cape profit shares will be paid out to 600 employees.
Dondolo said through the Employee Share Ownership Trust (Esop), which holds 10% of the shares in the company and was started in 1999, profit shares were paid out every year, when the company was in a financial position to do so.
"We have paid out over R15-million to our employees through the trust. It is important for the economic empowerment of our employees and the poverty alleviation in their communities that they are given a share of the profit. Last year we were able to pay out R2500 per employee, across the board, and this year we are paying out R3500," Dondolo said.
Pioneer Fishing human resources manager Pieter Rabe said all employees, of which 95% are from the previously disadvantaged sector, who had been employed by a company within the Pioneer group for at least one year, were eligible to become an Esop beneficiary.
"When they leave the company, we buy their share back from them."