18 IOT staff on attachment at Bangkok’s Thai Union cannery


The group in a souvenir photograph before they left for Thailand

Thai Union is the main shareholder of MW Brands (MWB), which holds 60% shares in IOT, while the Seychelles government through Société Seychelloise D’Investissements (SSI) holds the remaining 40%.

TUF has been described as the “seafood superpower” by Forbes magazine and is responsible for 21% of the world’s canned tuna production.

The group, who left for Thailand on Wednesday this week, consists of 10 Seychellois, the rest being of other nationalities, including translators. They include three managers, two supervisors, others being fish cleaners, representing a comprehensive group, including both day time and night time workers.

The managers will be with Thai Union for two weeks, while the supervisors and fish cleaners will spend four weeks.

IOT presently has a current workforce of 2,270.
The IOT general manager, Joram Madnack, said there are plans to increase the workforce to over 2,500 by the end of 2012 to cater for additional volumes and new products.

He added that due to this, IOT is also making significant investments in different areas of the factory.

“We are hoping that the group who has gone to Thai Union will learn new techniques so that we can get more from fish, which is getting very expensive,” said Mr Madnack. 

“Therefore the aim is to have maximum recovery and yields by optimising all our process and ensure there is no wastage.

He added it is hoped that on their return from the Thai Union factory, the group will have acquired new knowledge and synergy to work with.

“This attachment will set a benchmark in terms of fish recoveries and techniques.”
Turning to other issues, Mr Madnack said that piracy has seriously affected fish availability. 

Some 20 purse seiners have left for other oceans because of piracy, while climatic factors have also pushed down tuna catches. This has resulted into higher fish prices impacting negatively on competitiveness.

Mr Madnack said MWB and MWB IOT are behind all presentations for sustainable tuna fishing and MWB is an active member of International Seafood Sustainable Foundation (ISSF).

Garry Aglae, one of the managers who has travelled to Bangkok for the attachment with Thai Union, is looking forward to finding out how a big sister company operates.

“It should be a different environment,” he said before leaving.
Garry started at IOT 13 years ago as a quality inspector on the dock at the fishing terminal. He has since climbed up the ladder and today, as manager for production planning, he is mainly responsible for ensuring that the targets are met and the canned tuna and pre-cooked loins reach the market on time.

Lucille William, senior supervisor, who is also part of the group, has 25 years service at IOT.
She joined the cannery when it was still in its infancy in the 1980s and under the name Conserveries de l’Ocean Indien with far less staff and output.

Being in charge of the fish cleaning area on shifts with some 300 staff, she said she is at ease with workers of all nationalities. 

Lucille said before leaving that she was happy to be going to a bigger cannery and see how better standards can be achieved.

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