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Unions Mark World Aids Day with a Call to Action

Unions Mark World Aids Day with a Call to Action

Unions in the textile, clothing and leather sectors will be using the occasion of World Aids Day to urge their governments to scale up the national response to HIV/AIDS, an epedemic which has devastating demographic, economic and social effects in many countries.

Neil Kearney, General Secretary of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation says that unions will be reminding their political leaders of the commitments contained in the Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2001.

Says Mr. Kearney: “Unions will also be stressing the strategic importance of the workplace as an entry point for tackling a disease which mainly affects the young working population, women and the socially vulnerable. Unions in these predominantely female sectors of industry are particularly well placed to contribute to the fight against HIV/AIDS at the workplace.

“In many countries, policies have not yet been developed to protect workers who are HIV-positive from discrimination and to ensure confidentiality. Nor have the social partners been encouraged to develop policies to address HIV/AIDS. Where such laws do exist, they are simply not enforced.

The ITGLWF’s long-standing commitment to combat HIV/AIDS at the workplace has recently been given a boost with the launch of a comprehensive programme involving affiliates in Africa and the Philippines. The programme is aimed at creating awareness of the issues and encouraging unions to negotiate collective bargaining clauses on HIV/AIDS as well as to develop workplace policies.

The International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation is a global union federation bringing together 220 affiliated organisations in 110 countries with a combined membership of 10 million workers.

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