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December 2003   

Interview: Muscling Up
Labor�s Craig Emerson discusses how the changes to his party�s leadership will impact on the industrial relations agenda.

Unions: Thinking Pink
What�s the difference between a Nursing Home and an Aged Care Facility? More than semantics, according to nurses worried Australia is woefully unprepared for the crash at the end of the baby-boom cycle, writes Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Global Bully
If nothing else, US-based call centre giant TeleTech is consistent. After being nosed out of last year�s Bad Boss gong it is back, bigger and badder than ever in its search for Tony honours.

Unions: National Focus
In this national round up by Noel Hester, Hugh McKay tells us how the young are sticking together in a bewildered society, the gongs get handed out at the ACTU awards and there is a chance to win as a worthy wordsmith.

Economics: Friend or Flunkey?
On New Years Day as you look at the wine stains and tread on a soggy puddle on the carpet, will you look for the phone and call a cleaner? Gabrielle Meagher gives a few ethical dilemmas to confront before you make that call.

History: Young Blood
Youth is no barrier to political leadership, as the 37-year-old John Watson proved 100 years ago, writes Neale Towart.

Industrial: Living For Work?
Mark Hearn reports from a recent conference addressing the dilemma of work, citizenship and community.

International: Fighting Together
The international trade union movement is launching a Global Unions HIV/AIDS campaign to combat the spread of the virus.

Poetry: Medicare Plus Blues
Is the Government's new health plan a plus for Medicare? Asks resident bard David Peetz

Review: Human Racing
Seabiscuit is a great horse movie but more than that it serves as a powerful metaphor for the importance of living for the future while maintaining passion and compassion in the present, writes Tara de Boehmler.


The Soapbox
Dear John
In his 500th piece of activist journalism, long-term Workers Online contributor Rowan Cahill sends a personal message to our prime Minister.

The Locker Room
Retired Hurt
Every innings comes to an end, some too soon, and others not soon enough, writes Phil Doyle.

Wedge Watch
Labor's Craig Emerson puts the spotlight on the Howard Government's politics of division.

The Westie Wing
Workers Friend Ian West MLC is back with his monthly round-up from Macquarie Street.


A New Mark for Labor
Few of us who care about the future of the labour movement would not admit to a surge of hope and sense of excitement following the election of Mark Latham to the federal parliamentary leadership.


 Peeking Dicks in Pickle

 Lights Out on Cheap Labour

 Blackout Hangs Over Sydney

 Contractors Hang Up on Telstra

 Uni Workers Too Smart For Minister

 Employer Bullies Vie For �Tony�

 South Coast Deal to Build Movement

 TeleTech Safety Rep Vows to Fight On

 Corporates Urged to Come Clean

 MP Too Busy For Teachers

 Bosses Block Good Shops Code

 Engineers Ground Safety System

 Workers Win At Safety Meet

 Merger Threats

 Activists Notebook

 Feds Ignore Building Deaths
 Bob Gould On Kicking The Liberals Out
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Fighting Together

The international trade union movement is launching a Global Unions HIV/AIDS campaign to combat the spread of the virus.

Coordinated by the ICFTU, the campaign intends to get more and better information about HIV/AIDS to working women and men, encouraging national trade unions to use their unique communication channel to better inform workers and their families about the dangers of the pandemic. Launching on World AIDS Day (1st December), the Global Unions campaign will also develop a detailed picture of best- practice to inspire other unions in their work.

A major campaign aim will be to help trade unions share their experiences and publicise their success stories in fighting the deadly disease through the world of work. These stories include awareness-raising street theatre in Thailand, union-run HIV/AIDS workshops for couples in Zimbabwe, efforts to end discrimination in the workplace in the Dominican Republic and drop-in centers at border posts for truckers in Central Africa. Highlighting dozens of concrete examples from some of the hardest hit countries, including Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, the campaign will also highlight examples of unions already working together across borders and across continents to halt the spread of the virus.

"This campaign is about helping unions to learn from each other and get the message across to their members" said ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder, adding "often people will pay more attention to information coming from their union than from other sources, so we are convinced that more union action on HIV/AIDS will help stop the virus".

The international trade movement has also signed a joint statement with the International Organisation of Employers to develop joint action programmes to fight this disease and its consequences, in collaboration with the United Nations' International Labour Organisation.

How UYnions Are Battling HIV/AIDS

Trade unions have an crucial role to play in educating workers about HIV/AIDS. Here are some examples from around the world which your trade union can use in the fight against HIV/AIDS and you can mention to the press when asked why trade unions are best poised to educate workers about the prevention of the virus and its devastating effects.

Education International has produced a "Teachers Against AIDS"- a leaflet on AIDS prevention to help education staff in battling against the spread of the virus. Distributed widely among leaders amongst all education workers, it encourages open discussion on HIV/AIDS in the classroom.

IFBWW conducted a survey on affiliated trade unions in Africa to identify trade unions which are particularly affected by the virus and highlight priorities for action. It subsequently used the information to develop training material. Four HIV/AIDS workshops were carried out in Africa during 2002, principally to promote the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work.

IUF in Zimbabwe is developing a project which focuses on training women as educators and counsellors on HIV/AIDS to reach as wide a community as possible and spread general awareness about the virus.

ICFTU- AFRO has published an HIV/AIDS training manual for shop stewards, which is available in English and French, supported by the TUCGB. The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is assisting in the production of a Portuguese version of the manual.

The Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) runs its HIV/AIDS project in cooperation with the Ghana Employers Association (GEA). With the UNFPA support, there have been attempts to develop a national HIV/AIDS workplace policy, education programmes for trade unions and training for peer educators.

COTU'S (Kenya) Aids Control Council (ACU) coordinated all national activities for World Aids Day December 1, 2002. Letters and memorandums were sent to various union affiliates and employers requesting permission for workers to participate in the programme.

The Dockworkers' Union of Kenya, in cooperation with management, has long been active in the fight against AIDS. An International Transport Federation (ITF) workshop, sponsored by the Dutch FNV, helped the union get HIV/AIDS related provisions included in its collective bargaining agreement. A ban on the discrimination of HIV/AIDS dockworkers is enshrined in this agreement which also provides for 147 shop stewards to receive HIV/AIDS training, financed by their employers.

In 2003, following ITF recommendations, a doctor agreed to conduct tests at a truck stop in Kigali, Rwanda. Unions have also set up a self-help group and support fund that will assist members with HIV/AIDS, their children andorphans of deceased AIDS victims.

SACTWU (South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union) ran a month-long HIV/AIDS awareness campaign and devoted at least 30 minutes of every constitutional meeting at branch, local, regional and national level to the subject of HIV/AIDS.

In cooperation with the IFJ, the Tanzanian Union of Journalists held a course on HIV/AIDS based on the ILO Code of Practice for its members.

Intercontinental support for combating HIV/AIDS has been a feature of LO Norway's support of five shop steward training workshops in Uganda.

In cooperation with the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the British TUC and LO-Norway co-sponsored a training workshop for shop stewards in Lusaka, Zambia to train shop stewards on the prevention of HIV/AIDS in the workplace.

The Zimbabwean Teachers' Association, ZIMTA, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) project focuses on education, awareness, and prevention focussing on the responsibility of school principals to make their schools low- risk environments. It is developing partnerships with the Ministries of Health and Education, NGOs, and Social Welfare Departments and intends to create an HIV/AIDS hotline at ZIMTA offices throughout the country.

CUT Brazil has created a National Commission on AIDS Prevention. This Commission is formed by civil society organisations and trade unions and promotes safe practices to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. It tries to better the quality of life of workers living with HIV/AIDS and defends their basic rights.

Working with the ITF, the Brazilian S�o Paulo Subway Workers' Union campaigned against discrimination affecting workers with the virus. It also demanded that confidentiality should be guaranteed and medical treatment provided. These issues were successfully included in a collective bargaining agreement in 1994.

ICFTU-ORIT's national consultation stage in the project "Discrimination and exclusion from work as a result of HIV/AIDS in Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic" has been successfully completed. The consultations were based around a number of key themes including discrimination and the respect of human rights.

The Guatemalan health workers' union ANTRASPG/SNTSG conducted prevention education activities with unionized and non-unionized workers from various sectors including informal economy, health care, and agriculture.

The AFL-CIO and its Solidarity Center's HIV/AIDS program in South Africa partners with the ICFTU affiliates COSATU, NACTU and FEDUSA. The program will soon expand to other countries in the region. Efforts are also underway in Russia, India and with the Caribbean Congress of Labour and ITF to launch a regional workplace initiative on HIV/AIDS.

The ILO is running HIV/AIDS projects in several Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Bangladesh, offering advisory services on legal reform and policy development, projects on migrant workers, workers' education programmes, and advice on reform of social security provisions.

In 2001, the Indian INTUC supported the launch of a 14-month HIV/AIDS capacity building program with Indian trade unions in collaboration with NGOs and the business community. The main functions of this program were to develop a three-module training manual on HIV/AIDS, an intensive Training of Trainers (TOT), set up a HIV/AIDS resource centre at INTUC's headquarters in New Delhi, and to provide relevant multimedia for HIV/AIDS education.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines seeks to ensure that workers rights are respected in line with national legislation such as the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998. A number of companies have agreed to support the program by offering workers paid leave to attend HIV/AIDS seminars, by funding education activities and providing company training rooms at no cost.

Global Unions occupational health safety and environment institute in Asia OHSEI is running a three-year HIV/AIDS training project in Thailand which will include using street theatre during lunchtimes to raise awareness of the virus.

In cooperation with the Canadian Labour Congress, the ICFTU - APRO carried out a survey among its affiliates on trade union response to HIV/AIDS. Following the survey, APRO, the ICFTU's regional organisation in Asia, held a regional conference in Bangkok, culminating in an action plan for battling against the virus. The proposals include a regional e-mail network/ web page run by ICFTU - APRO and devoted to HIV/AIDS issues. This email/ web facility will inform of the progress of implementation of the ILO's Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS. Another ICFTU-APRO proposal is to lobby government to adopt the Code as a part its health policy. This would encourage the Ministry of Health network to also play a role in promoting the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS.


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