Managing director of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) Immanuel Mulunga has said employees who prefer not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 may be required to work from home to avoid physical interactions with fellow staff members to decrease the chance of infection.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), which represents most Namcor employees, has sought legal advice in challenging the vaccination directive. Mulunga doubled down on the directive following Namcor’s executive order urging all employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by no later than 19 November 2021. According to Namcor, the directive aims to ensure a Covid-19 free working environment.
“Those who wish to not be vaccinated for no reason may be required to work from home to avoid infections and physical interactions. Those who can’t be vaccinated due to religious or health reasons may be required to submit supporting documents from their medical practitioners or religious leaders,” stated Mulunga.
He added the executive order (EO) is a directive issued by the managing director (MD) and can be amended from time to time, noting that Namcor’s executive committee was consulted on the directive.
Mulunga added that Namcor has in the past conducted several initiatives aimed at encouraging the team to get vaccinated, through email banners, special leave for vaccinations, internal posters and many others.
Of Namcor’s 189 employees, it has not been established how many of them have been fully vaccinated.
Justice minister Yvonne Dausab recently stated employers who wish to impose the vaccination order on their employees, according to the Labour Act, would be required to consult members of that employment space for the reasons of mandatory vaccination.
“When we are talking about mandatory vaccination, there have to be some exceptions as well. There are reasons why certain people would not want to be subjected to mandatory vaccination; it could be health reasons, religion and others,” stated Dausab.
In Namibia, Namcor is not the only institution to issue a vaccination directive as the Defence Force is also subjected to mandatory vaccinations due to the position they serve in society and as stipulated in the Defence Act.
Defence minister Frans Kapofi recently mentioned that soldiers are deployed to bury people who have succumbed to Covid-19-related or Covid-19 deaths so they need to protect themselves.
A statement sent yesterday from NUNW’s lawyers, Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys, posed several questions to Namcor, the gist of which is to ascertain Namcor’s medical expertise in vaccines.
“Upon receipt of your replies to the request of the above information, our client will, if the information received shows no harm will be suffered by its members who are your employees in receiving your recommended vaccination/s and you confirm in writing that our client’s members will suffer no harm from your recommended vaccines, conditionally encourage its members who are your employees to obtain your recommended vaccination,” read the lawyer’s letter.