THE Trades Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna) has criticized the decision by the Ministry of Defense and Veterans Affairs to make HIV testing and Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for all recruits.
The ministry is recruiting 1,500 new cadets and is currently being criticized for requiring potential recruits to test negative for both HIV and Covid-19.
At a press conference on Friday, the union’s general secretary, Mahongora Kavihuha, said he opposed such demands.
He said no employer should include discriminatory terms in the hiring process.
“We are very disturbed by the action of the Namibian government which deliberately undermines the legal instruments we have in the country,” Kavihuha said.
He said Namibia appeared last year before an International Labor Organization (ILO) committee on violations, involving discrimination, which specifically concern people living with HIV/AIDS in all sectors, including including defense forces.
“The Namibian government, which we hope includes the Ministry of Defence, through the Minister of Labour, appeared to have shown remorse and pledged not to repeat this kind of discrimination and then launched a call for technical assistance from the ILO, and they agreed to help,” he said.
Kavihuha said there have been several meetings between technical teams from the ILO, government, trade unions and employers’ representatives.
“During these meetings, various gaps and interventions were identified. These include, among others, the harmonization of recruitment conditions in the civil service to avoid discrimination on the basis of HIV-AIDS,” he said.
Kavihuha said: “As we are about to put all this in place, surprisingly and shockingly, we see the Ministry of Defense doing exactly what brought the country before the ILO Committee of Experts. using very ugly and unscientific reasons.
“Our call is for them to withdraw these recruitment requirements because they are discriminatory, unscientific, superficial and unproven.”