HIV and AIDS

TUCP PROGRAM ON HIV AND AIDS AT THE WORKPLACE

TRADE UNION POLICY ON HIV/AIDS

In 1998, the TUCP came out with a trade union policy on prevention and control of HIV and AIDS in conjunction with the newly enacted national policy on HIV and AIDS. This is an essential component of TUCP.Cares framework which covers the overall health and welfare program of the organization.

The policy has five main features including (a) Prevention and Control, (b) Protection of Workers’ Rights and dignity of persons living with HIV/AIDS, (c) Responsibility of Workers, (d) Recognition of TUCP responsibility, and (e) Establishment of TUCP Core Group on HIV/AIDS.

1. Prevention and Control of the Spread of HIV, AIDS and STIs

Access to information –All workers shall have access to adequate and updated information, health, counseling and education programs on HIV/AIDS/STIs as well as to support services and referrals.

Support for programs –Programs on HIV/AIDS/STIs shall be supported by all TUCP National leaders, officers and affiliates through the mobilization of its relevant committee and departments. In recognition of December 1 as World AIDS Day, TUCP shall initiate and participate in relevant activities for its observance.

Partnership –TUCP shall establish close working partnership among employers’ groups, government, non-government organizations and research institutions but such partnership shall be limited only to funding, coordination and technical support. Actual program implementation shall rest solely on TUCP and/or its affiliates.

Role of employers, government and other members of the civil society –Employers should endeavor to allocate funds and provide support for the implementation and sustainability of plant-level HIV, AIDS and STIs prevention and control program. The government should be tapped for necessary technical assistance and accessibility to HIV/AIDS/STIs service and supplies.

Support for R.A. 8504 –TUCP shall support the implementation and enforcement of RA 8504 or the Philippine national AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998, lobby for the immediate issuance of its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) and carry out massive information dissemination campaign among affiliates and local unions on the said law.

2. Protection of Workers’ Rights and Dignity of Persons Living With HIV and AIDS

For persons applying for employment –Mandatory testing for an HIV antibody shall be prohibited.

For employees –Workers with HIV/AIDS/STIs shall be entitled to the same rights and opportunities as other employees.

HIV Antibody screening
–No mandatory HIV testing shall be done. Antibody testing shall be on a voluntary basis with pre and post counseling that guarantees anonymity and confidentiality.

Confidentiality of records –Results of antibody tests and other employee health records shall be treated with utmost confidentiality by the physician, employers and employee.

Protection of employee tenure
–TUCP shall uphold the security of employment of workers with HIV/AIDS/STIs. They shall be allowed to work as long as they are physically fit and medically cleared to do so. They shall, likewise, be protected from stigma and discrimination by co-workers and employers as well as from demotion and termination of the latter.

Reproductive Health Day –TUCP shall declare Reproductive Health Day to provide workers with complete services for his/her RH needs. TUCP shall advocate for the inclusion of this RH Day in Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) as a regular part of company’s family welfare program.

Benefits –TUCP shall endeavor to establish HIV/AIDS/STIs Funds and/or endowment to assist/support workers with HIV/AIDS and STIs. It shall ensure that all workers with HIV and AIDS are entitled to the same benefits as provided for by law and by other employers. Workers whose jobs are considered high risk to infection through needle prick or exposure to blood and other blood products shall be provided with special protection and additional compensation. Universal precaution shall always be observed and practiced at the workplace.

3. Responsibility of Workers with HIV, AIDS and STIs

Workers with HIV/AIDS and STIs shall be responsible for maintaining a lifestyle that will control and prevent the spread of the infection.

4. Recognition of TUCP Responsibility

TUCP affiliates shall negotiate for provisions in all CBA contracts that support HIV/AIDS and STIs initiatives including but not limited to “time off with pay” for workers’ participation in HIV/AIDS/STIs programs and activities.

TUCP shall develop an appropriate and gender sensitive information, education, communication and motivation (IECM) campaign on the control and prevention of HIV/AIDS/STIs.

TUCP shall endorse and establish mechanism for the integration of HIV/AIDS/STIs prevention program in existing Family Welfare Programs and/or other Health Promotion Programs at the Workplace.

5. Establishment of TUCP Core Group on HIV, AIDS and STIs

A TUCP Core group shall be established to implement and coordinate a nationwide program on HIV, AIDS/STIs. They shall be composed of representatives coming from different federations affiliated with the TUCP.

A focal person shall be identified and assigned to coordinate and monitor the integration and implementation of HIV, AIDS/STIs prevention and control programs at the workplace.

ACTIVITIES AND PROGRAMMES ON HIV/AIDS

Over the years, TUCP has put great importance HIV and AIDS prevention and control programs at the workplace. Among the programs/project which gave special focus on the this workplace concern are the following:

a. Pilot Project on Family Welfare/Family Planning (1984-1989)
Supported by International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the project included efforts to managing of Sexually Transmitted Infections particularly among male workers.

b. Institutionalizes population education among members (1991-1996)
Supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), information, education and communication (IEC) materials on Family Planning (FP), Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Prevention were developed through a participatory process and distributed using a collectively crafted communications plan. A mobile clinics was acquired to enable union health providers bring information and services at union members’ places of work and communities.

c. Enhancing Male Involvement in RH Among Trade Union Members (1998-2000)
Supported by the Ted Turner Foundation and UNFPA, the pilot project promoted male involvement and participation in family responsibilities while enabling the same target public to address their own reproductive health concerns, particularly prostate cancer and STI detection and management which are the identified RH concerns of male workers.

A number of male trade union leaders and members were trained to become corps Male Adult Peer Educators  on STIs including HIV and AIDS. HIV and AIDS was integrated as a component of workers education among select enterprises with TUCP-affiliated unions.

d. Enhancing the Union-Based HIV/AIDS Peer Education Program in Selected Sites (2000)
Supported by the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), development of Core Trainers (Peer Educators on HIV and AIDS) –whose primary term of reference is to serve as first-line source of correct and accurate HIV and AIDS information and counseling to fellow workers –was undertaken. This Pool of Peer Educators held various kinds of IEC activities ranging from the conduct of weekend seminars, mass mobilizations, general assemblies and face-to-face interaction for workers.

An HIV/AIDS Awareness Manual for Workers was developed to serve as guide of peer educators in dispensing their responsibilities at the enterprise level.

e. A Demonstration Project to Promote RH Programs in the Workplace ( 2000-2003)
Supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the project served as an advocacy program to promote FP/RH in workplaces including advocacy for HIV and AIDS prevention and control. Unions were capacitated to negotiate for FP/RH and non-discrimination clauses in collective bargaining agreements (CBA). STI Management is one of the clinical services provided in union-run Family Welfare Clinics.

f. A Work-Based RH Project for the Working Youth (2001-2004)

This UNFPA-assisted RH project focused on sexuality education and services for young workers. HIV and AIDS –as an emerging concern with enormous potential negative impact of the working youth –was one of the thematic areas covered by the project.

To respond to the unique issues and concerns of young people, a pool of Young Adult Peer Educators (YAPE) was developed. YAPEs act as counselors and facilitators in HIV and AIDS discussions at the enterprise level. A number of these YAPEs were eventually tapped by their respective Human Resource Departments to lead HIV and AIDS education for management and non-union members.

The project was conferred with the NGO Best Practice Award among the NGO partners of UNFPA in the fifth (5th) Country Program.

g. Intensifying Advocacy for Family Planning and Reproductive Health at the Workplace (2004-2007)
Supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, advocacy for FP/RH and HIV and AIDS at the workplace was intensified. This resulted in a number of companies providing funds for programs and services, including STIs.

h. RH@WORK: Increasing Access to RH Services among Vulnerable Populations (2005-2008)
In this project, UNFPA assisted the TUCP to address the FP/RH needs of the increasing workers in the informal sector. Clinical services on STI Detection and management for the Informal sector workers was initiated.

Select young people within the sector were trained to use street theater as a way of informing and teaching street and well as itinerant vendors about family planning and reproductive health. Street theater presentations were developed to tackle issues such as sexuality, STIs, responsible sexuality and safe sex practices among others.

i. Promoting Family Planning & Reproductive at the Workplace through Public-Private Partnership, (2007-2010)
Supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, this project engages area-based government and private stakeholders for the promotion and sustainability of FP/RH, including HIV and AIDS at the workplace. Five (5) multi-sectoral, area-based coalitions were organized to support advocacies at the local level.

j. Strengthening the Peer Education Program in Workplaces (2008-2009)
With support from the Japan International Labor Foundation (JILAF), two (2) national training programs were held to train and develop 40 new of HIV and AIDS Peer Educators from the manufacturing, services, agricultural sectors and workers in informal employment. An updated HIV and AIDS guidebook for peer educators was developed.

k.HIV and AIDS Education Program for Future Workers in the Sunrise Industry (2008-2010)
With the increasing number of young people entering the call center industry and the likewise increasing number of domestic cases of HIV transmission among young people, the TUCP initiated an education program for the near-hired business process outsourcing (BPO) workers undergoing finishing courses on call center and medical transcription at the TUCP Workers College.

Included in their curriculum is a three-hour session on HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control. Everyone is required to undergo the education session for them to be conferred with their certificates.

l.National Annual HIV and AIDS Forum and Candlelight Memorial: International Day for Commemorating the Dead and Injured Workers (2006-2008)

For three years, HIV and AIDS was the main theme of TUCP’s April 28th Candle-light memorial in commemoration of the International Day of Mourning. The candle-light memorial is an international trade union advocacy, held every 28th of April, to remember and bring into public consciousness’ the countless women, men and young workers all over the world who died, got ill or injured because of unhealthy, unsafe and unsustainable working conditions.

LABOR REPRESENTATION AT THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL AIDS COUNCIL (PNAC)
To further exercise its leadership role in advocating for the HIV and AIDS issue of Filipino workers, the TUCP sits as member of the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC).  PNAC is the highest recommending body to the President on issues pertaining to HIV and AIDS.  TUCP has been an active member of the PNAC since the passage of RA 8504 in 1998.

THE ILO CODE OF PRACTICE ON HIV AND AIDS AND THE WORLD OF WORK

TUCP believes that there is a great need to ensure that the International Labor Organization (ILO) Code of Practice is applied and implemented in all workplaces, formal and informal. In essence, the fundamental aim of the Code is to help safeguard conditions of decent work and protect the rights of workers and all people living with HIV/AIDS

LABOR ENGAGEMENT IN GOVERNMENT POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND ACTIONS

TUCP actively participated at the following:

  • development of a  National Workplace Policy on STD/HIV/AIDS, and implementation and monitoring  guidelines.
  • Development of the AIDS Medium Term Plan (AMTP) which serves as the over-all guide to policy-makers and programme planners to determine where resources for AIDS could make the most impact and what strategies and interventions were needed.

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