Labour Ministry and ILO to Implement HIV/AIDS Education Programme


The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), on October 14, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, placing Jamaica among 16 countries worldwide that will be implementing the ILO HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme.
The signing took place at the official launch of the ILO and the United States Department of Labour (USDOL) HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme in Jamaica, which was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
The three-year programme sponsored by the United States Department of Labour (USDOL) will see the ILO and the USDOL, in collaboration with tripartite partners, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF), and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), involved in its implementation.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Horace Dalley, said that in order to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic, “government, employers, trade unions, NGO’s, and other stakeholders, must work towards institutionalizing workplace policies of information, education and good communication”.
The Minister, in his address also said that by year-end his Ministry would be tabling in Parliament, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which would serve to oppose discriminatory practices against persons living with HIV/AIDS as well as secure workers’ privacy in the workplace.
Mr. Dalley emphasized that the approach of the MLSS with regard to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, would remain “consistent with the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work. in so far as focusing on education, prevention, training, assistance, workers’ rights, issues of discrimination and occupational health and safety”.
The ILO Code of Practice, facilitated in the National Policy Document on HIV/AIDS was brought before Cabinet on October 11, and speaks to ten principles that will guide the development and implementation of policies that deal with the issue of HIV/AIDS in the work environment.
Inclusive in the National Policy Document on HIV/AIDS, is the principle that speaks to the issue of HIV/AIDS screening, whereby job applicants or persons in employment should not be required to do HIV/AIDS testing as a basis for employment or to continue to be employed.
The code also speaks to the issue of confidentiality whereby employees should not be required to reveal information with respect to their HIV status based on the rule of confidentiality. Furthermore, the code states that an employee should not be terminated based on the fact that he/she has HIV/AIDS, but should be able to continue in employment so long as he/she is medically fit.
The HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme, which commences in another three weeks, will ultimately see the development of a National Plan of Action aimed at sensitizing, informing and educating workers on the issue of HIV/AIDS.

JIS Social