Labour Ministry to Implement Workplace HIV/AIDS Education Programme


The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United States Department of Labour, for the implementation of a HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Horace Dalley, who made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2005 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 17), said the programme was designed to enhance the national response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, by reducing risk behaviours among targeted workers and to lessen employment-related discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS.
“It is internationally recognized that HIV/AIDS is a major threat to the workforce. HIV/AIDS affects the most productive segment of the labour force and imposes huge costs on enterprises in all branches of economic activity through declining productivity, increasing labour costs and loss of skills and experience,” he stated.
The education programme is a precursor to the National HIV/AIDS workplace policy, which provides guidelines to promote a safe, caring and healthy work environment, which is free of stigmatization and discrimination, and promotes the rights of workers whether they are infected and or affected by HIV/AIDS. The policy should be tabled in Parliament during this legislative year.
The social partners at the Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) have accepted the guidelines, Mr. Dalley indicated, with the exception of the provision for testing at the workplace.
Meanwhile, the Labour Minister pointed out, the Industrial Safety Department would be involved in efforts to reduce and control the spread of HIV/AIDS, as part of Jamaica’s multi-sectoral response to the disease.

JIS Social