Justina Jonas-Emvula, General Secretary of the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers’ Union ( MANWU) and member of the BWI World Board, participated in a panel discussion aired live on television and radio wherein she shared the impact of COVID-19 on Namibia’s construction workers. She was invited by the General Secretaries of Domestic workers and Informal traders.
Jonas-Emvula raised the issue of social security, which she said is not being enjoyed by all workers in the construction sector. She called for a tripartite dialogue comprised of unions, employers and government to find solutions to the news challenges caused by COVID-19 and to strengthen social dialogue more than ever.
Jonas-Emvula also said that MANWU has embarked on a workplace safety campaign in Namibia’s 14 regions. She said that the union has engaged the government and employers to ensure that they are adhering to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 health and safety regulations.
‘We are concerned over the availability of safety tools and personal protective equipment (PPE), like facemasks and sanitizers to workers, as well as the use of finger scanner machines at workplaces as they could contribute to the spread of COVID-19,’’ Jonas-Emvula said.
As of 7 May, Namibia has 16 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 8 recoveries and zero deaths. However, the pandemic and the lockdown have impacted negatively on the work and income of many construction workers.