Posted: Tuesday, 30 November 2010
The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and African regional body of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) will mark the 2010 World AIDS Day by renewing a two-year partnership to promote universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support of infected workers and their families.
Today, 33.4 million people in the world are infected by AIDS. Ongoing support for HIV prevention programmes are the single most effective course of action that can be taken by industrialized countries like Canada. Every effort must be made to reverse the current trend in which the rate of new infections around the world continues to out-pace the number of people who receive life-saving HIV prevention and treatment services.
The CLC-ITUC partnership will continue the work began in 2008. In Africa, this will include increasing the number of negotiated workplace agreements, boost research and education programmes, and build upon existing agreements with governments and other key stakeholders in the struggle against HIV-AIDS. In Canada, unions will be encouraged to continue negotiating protective language into their collective agreements to deal with the rising cost of drugs and the rights of sick workers to time off. Both organizations will lobby governments to promote universal access provisions for AIDS, such as for greater access to health care services and affordable drugs.
Earlier this year, the CLC and ITUC spearheaded a lobby campaign that saw union members in over 40 countries call on Prime Minister Harper, in his role as Chair of the G8/G20 Summits in Canada, to make Universal Access on HIV-AIDS a priority for the meetings.
For Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, this action sets a new benchmark for union activism, with encouraging signs that unions from other industrialized countries may join together in the launch of a workplace-based HIV prevention programme in 15 African and some Asian countries.
“Over the years, our experience with AIDS in Africa shows that workplace approaches are a springboard to bringing about change in entire communities,” says Georgetti.
According to Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, the General Secretary of ITUC Africa, partnerships, like the one with the CLC, are an important way for working people to link efforts to not only lead an “HIV Prevention Revolution”, but also to reach other key social and development goals including Millennium Development Goals (MDG) with ILO targets, Decent Work Country Programmes, and instruments such as the new Recommendation on HIV and AIDS.
The Canadian Labour Congress is the national voice of the labour movement, representing 3.2 million workers. The CLC brings together Canadian national and international unions, along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. See www.canadianlabour.ca
The ITUC-Africa is a regional labour organization uniting trade unions that together represent 13 million trade union members, in 53 affiliated national centres, in 44 African countries. See www.ituc-africa.org.
For further information:
Mr. Yahya Msangi, ITUC-Africa [email@example.com], Tel: +228 251 2935
Mr. David Onyalo, CLC International Department–Canada [firstname.lastname@example.org],
Tel: 1(613) 526-7419, or Tel: 1(613) 526-7410