ILO Meeting to Discuss Code on Fair Treatment of HIV Victims

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- The International Labour Organisation has circulated to all member countries a draft code it expects to be accepted as a global guide on elimination of discrimination against HIV/AIDS victims in workplaces.
If adopted at the forthcoming general conference of the ILO, due to be held May in Geneva, sufferers of the disease would find themselves in a changed world of work, ILO officials in Dar es Salaam observed.
Delegates to the ILO assembly, including labour ministers, trade union leaders and representatives of employer associations, will discuss the document and, hopefully, reach a consensus on fair treatment of workers affected by the pandemic.
ILO officials say HIV infected workers in many countries have been victims of unfair treatment, from colleagues and employers alike, because of their health status and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS.
The proposed code discourages employees from compelling job applicants or workers to disclose HIV-related personal information or terminating their employment.
Where a worker with AIDS-related condition is too ill to stay on the job, and where alternative working arrangements including extended sick leave have been exhausted, the code suggests that termination of such an employee should be considered in accordance with non-discriminatory labour laws and with full benefits.
A recent study of the ILO warns of catastrophic consequences of HIV/AIDS for workers and employers worldwide, projecting a severe decline in the size and quality of the workforce in a number of countries over the next 20 years.
Based on an analysis of population data from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Cote d'Ivoire, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and Zimbabwe, the ILO says there will be about 24 million fewer workers in those countries alone in 2020 as a result of the AIDS pandemic.
In eight African countries, with HIV prevalence rates higher than 10 percent of the adult population, - Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe - the ILO says the labour force in 2020 will be 10-22 percent smaller than it would have been if there had been no HIV/AIDS.
In countries with HIV prevalence rates below 10 percent of the adult population - Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria and Tanzania - the labour force is expected to be between 3 and 9 percent smaller - except in Thailand where the difference is just over one percent than it would have been without HIV/AIDS.
Adoption of the code, it is believed, could lead to more accommodating workplaces for HIV/AIDS victims, with governments, employers and ordinary people using the document as a guide to manage the pandemic.

20 april 2001 15:00:00




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