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ICEM Marks 20th World AIDS Day with Commitment to the Future

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30 November, 2008

Tomorrow, December 1, is the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. To mark the day, the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine, and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM) has issued a leaflet that can be found here. Since 1988, trade union and civil society efforts have engineered a strong response to the epidemic, and recorded results prove the engineering has solid footing, thanks to labour unions and NGOs.

But more work remains. “The fight to eliminate the scourge of the pandemic is far from finished, and more must be done,” said ICEM General Secretary Manfred Warda. “We’re proud to recognise the 20th Anniversary of December 1, but even prouder to mark this day with commitment to wage this fight until the disease is gone.”

The role of trade unions is critical in the struggle against AIDS. Trade unions demonstrate leadership on the issue by pushing early testing and prevention methods in the workplace, and then in homes and communities. The issue is a priority in most governing bodies, in women’s caucuses, on health and safety committees, and most importantly; in negotiations with companies. This impact is positive to the community, to family life, and to national level policies based on workable and achievable grass-roots principles aimed at combatting the disease.

Together with social partners, the World AIDS Campaign set this year’s theme for World AIDS Day as “Lead – Empower – Deliver,” building on last year’s theme to take the lead. Designating leadership as the overall theme for 2007-08 provides an opportunity to highlight the political leadership needed to fulfill commitments, particularly the promise of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support by 2010.

Any union member, shop steward, union official, committee member, or gender representative who takes action today on HIV/AIDS is a leader in the fight against the deadly disease.

The World AIDS Campaign has developed material that can be accessed at www.worldaidscampaign.org.

For further information, contact Dick Blin or Tom Grinter, ICEM,             +41 22 304 1840       ; [email protected] or [email protected].