THE Namibian Public Workers Union has said it does not advocate the invoking of section 42 of the Labour Act of 2007, which calls for workers to be absent from their workplaces.

The secretary general of the union, Petrus Nevonga, said this on Friday at a press conference held in Windhoek where the union donated N$200 000 to help the government in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

Section 42 (1), titled ’employee’s right to leave a dangerous place of work’, states that “if an employee has a reasonable cause to believe that, until effective measures have been taken, it is neither safe nor healthy to continue work in a work place, that employee can leave that place”.

It further states that the employee has to inform their employer and that they are entitled to receive the same remuneration benefits during the period of their absence.

“We are not party to such advocacy. Instead, we support and comply with prevention measures, as directed by the World Health Organisation, ministry of health and ministry of labour,” said Nevonga.

He urged workers to remain calm and adhere to preventive measures, as stated while they, as a union, continue to monitor the situation.

Nevonga also warned employers to keep in line with health and safety regulations in workplaces to curb the spread of the virus. Things like keeping the workplaces clean and hygienic as well as wiping surfaces with disinfectants, should be done consistently, the unionist warned, saying failure to do so would result in them taking appropriate measures.

Nothing must threaten the health and safety of our members at their respective workplaces, Nevonga said, adding, “It is within our mandate to compel respective employers to comply with set health and safety regulations, failure which the unions can take appropriate measures in light of the Labour Act of 2007 and other relevant laws.”

President Hage Geingob, who was inaugurated as the head of state for the next five years on Saturday, recently declared a state of emergency to last six months concerning Covid-19. The parliament approved the declaration a week ago.

The country currently has three confirmed cases of Covid-19 from 25 suspected cases across the country.

Furthermore, I-Ben Nashandi, the executive director in the Office of the Prime Minister, called for the review of shebeen opening hours to enable people to implement WHO recommendations for fighting Covid-19.

He also said they are working at ensuring that there is adequate water supply in the informal areas, as hygiene is important in combating Covid-19.

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