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Transport Workers Drive World AIDS Day

Transport Workers Drive World AIDS Day Message Around the World

On planes, trains & automobiles – not to mention buses, trams, docks, boats and ships, transport workers will be marking the 20th World Aids Day on Monday 1 December.

Transport trade unionists will back the day, which is called by the World Aids Campaign, in activities organised by their unions and the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation).

These are just some of the activities that they are organising for Monday:

In India 25 trade unions representing one and a half million members have joined to hold rallies, exhibitions, awareness programmes and seminars, street plays, cultural shows, condom distributions and blood donation camps. The unions involved include the All India Railwaymen’s Federation and the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen, National Union of Seafarers of India, Forward Seamen’s Union of India, Tamil Nadu Road Transport Workers’ HMS Federation, Indian National Transport Workers Federation, Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers Union, Aviation Industry Employees’ Guild and the eleven affiliated unions of the All India Port & Dock Workers’ Federation. ITF affiliated road transport unions in Nepal will also be participating.

The Namibian Transport and Allied Workers’ Union is running a national campaign against discrimination in the workplace as well as running a mobile VCT (voluntary counselling and testing) centre.

ITF affiliates in Burkina Faso are meeting with their colleagues from neighbouring countries to develop a cross border HIV programme for transport workers. They will also organise a VCT session for workers and the wider community and distribute condoms and educational materials.

Dockers’ and seafarers’ unions in Sri Lanka are working with the Sri Lanka Port Authority to run a day long seminar on HIV/Aids in the workplace.

Alianza de Tranviarios de Mexico will distribute information materials and condoms.

The Centro de Jefes y Oficiales Maquinistas Navales of Argentina will organise a seminar in collaboration with the department of epidemiology and infectious diseases and also run an education programme for those living in port areas

The Lebanese Cabin Crew Association will display materials in airports and other workplaces.

The Australian Rail, Tram & Bus Industry Union will distribute information materials in workplaces, and so will the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) in the USA.

In Switzerland workers’ and employers’ representatives from around the world will meet in Geneva to receive training on how to respond to HIV/Aids in the road transport sector. The workshop is organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Road Transport Union (IRU) Academy and the ITF, and will run from 1 to 3 December. The workshop is the first in a series aimed at training instructors to use the new Driving for Change’ training toolkit, which has been developed by the ILO, the IRU Academy and the ITF.

ITF HIV/Aids Coordinator Dr Asif Altaf commented: “This is the 20th anniversary of World Aids Day and it reminds us how much progress has been made over the past two decades, but also how much still needs to be done to reach universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support.”

He continued: “Nearly all countries now have national policies on HIV but most have not been fully implemented and many lack funding. Despite HIV awareness now reaching nearly all areas of the globe, infection is still occurring at a rate 2.7 times faster than the increase in number of people receiving treatment. While the number of countries protecting people living with HIV continues to increase, one third of countries still lack legal protections. Discrimination continues to be a major threat to universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support.

He concluded: “Today we are committing ourselves as trade unionists to continue to struggle for help and justice for all those affected. Our goal is to ensure that no HIV positive worker is discriminated against in his or her place of work, and that each and every one can get the access to the medical support that they need."

ENDS

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