8 July 2013 – The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) will release a new tool for unions fighting the negative effects of HIV/AIDS in the world’s ports today. The official launch will take place at the ITF dockers’ section conference in Chicago, USA, and the publication, HIV/AIDS and portworkers – a resource pack for unions, is available on request and for immediate download from: www.itfglobal.org/files/publications/39833/HIV_AIDS_portworkers.pdf.
The new publication contains practical guidance designed to benefit port workers, their families and communities. It is a direct result of a survey undertaken among docker trade unions that revealed the extent to which this sector is affected by HIV/AIDS and the eagerness of trade unions to tackle it and the stigma associated with it. (For more on the survey see www.itfglobal.org/press-area/index.cfm/pressdetail/6760.)
Writing in the introduction to the report, ITF president and dockers’ section chair Paddy Crumlin stated: “The ITF is an organisation representing the best interests of transport workers around the world; it would be impossible to fulfill that role without addressing the issue of HIV/AIDS. This is a union issue. How we approach dealing with this disease must be unifying for transport workers across all sectors and also take into account the unique elements of each workforce. We must fight stigma, we must put the dignity of transport workers living and working with HIV/AIDS at the forefront of our work and we must not try to use a one size fits all approach.”
Dr Asif Altaf, ITF HIV/AIDS coordinator, explained: “Ports are transport hubs that bring together a complex mix of nationalities and service providers in multiple interactions. They are likely to have a predominantly male workforce, in some places with a disposable income higher than that of many in the surrounding area – who can be drawn to the port to match the need of those passing through it for rest, recreation and entertainment. Like many transport hubs and the wider communities they serve, ports cannot escape the need to recognise the possible threat from HIV/AIDS.”
He continued: “This publication is a tool to help unions fight against the negative effects of HIV/AIDS, and the latest move in ITF unions’ continuing struggle to improve the lives of all those workers affected by it. We hope that it will also represent an increase in knowledge about the infection, and a further step in fighting its spread.”
The release of HIV/AIDS and port workers – a resource pack for unions follows the publication of a guide on HIV/AIDS for unions in civil aviation in November 2012 (for details see www.itfglobal.org/press-area/index.cfm/pressdetail/7954).
HIV/AIDS and portworkers – a resource pack for unions is 82 pages long and in its hard copy version includes the ILO (International Labour Organization) Toolkit for trade unions on HIV and AIDS on CD-Rom. The toolkit is also available for download fromwww.ilo.org/actrav/what/pubs/WCMS_154441/lang–en/index.htm.