Labour official encourages firms to use HIV policies
September 18, 2012
Labour official encourages firms to use HIV policies

Labour Commissioner Fitz Jones yesterday encouraged companies to fully utilize the national policies on HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases.{{more}}

“I would want us today make these documents working tools. Tools which we would use every day and tools, which would be refined and redefined with time,” he said.

The SVG National Tripartite Workplace Policy on HIV and AIDS, 2012 and the SVG National Tripartite Workplace Policy on NCDs (Non Communicable Diseases), 2012, which was completed earlier this year, were officially handed over to the Ministry of Labour yesterday at the NIS Training Room.

The consultancy for these policies was held from September to December 2011.

The policies were formulated through inputs from the employers, workers, the Government, and a focal group.

The focal group was drawn from several sectors of the

economy and included representation from community-based organizations (CBOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and faith-based organizations (FBOs).

Existing policy documents were reviewed in depth and recommendations were made for the drafting exercise.

Jones said the documents are significant to the work environment, because of the information that is related in the policies.

“Today, we might not be as well as some of us might be exposed to somebody in the work environment who is affected by HIV/AIDS or someone who is infected by NCDs. And if we are not yet affected by them, mark you me, the time is coming and it’s coming soon,” Jones said.

He further said workers and employers have to be prepared to deal with these realities.

More than booklets

Jones’ sentiments were echoed by Minister of Labour, Maxell Charles, who said the policy documents should be more than just booklets laying somewhere in a cupboard.

“… I know for sure the policies here, the ideas would be both applicable and workable. And I expect that these documents would be continually evolving — we continually seek to improve them,” Charles said.

Charles further said his ministry is committed to continue to work together with employers and employees.

“I am sure that the rest of my colleagues in Cabinet would be very proud of the document, because I know for sure it’s a workable something — something that can be applied to the workplace and as we seek to deal with HIV/AIDS and NCDs, as we work together, I know for sure that it will make the workplace a better place.

“It will make it a more productive place as we seek to make St Vincent and the Grenadines the nation it should be,” Charles added.

The consultancy was conducted by barrister-at-law and former minister of labour René Baptiste, as an external collaborator of the International Labour Organisation, through its Caribbean Regional Office in Trinidad and Tobago. (AA)