Strengthening the Trade Unions Response to HIV/AIDS in the Workplace Education Programme in China


Donors/funding mechanisms

Project Accelerations Funds (PAF)

The overall purpose of UNAIDS Programme Acceleration Funds (PAF) is to enable UN organizations to make a strategic contribution to an effective and efficient scaled-up national response. PAF are to be programmed jointly by UN Theme Groups on HIV/AIDS. They are meant to catalyse and leverage new resources and partnerships, involve two or more UN agencies, generate innovative approaches, and generally strengthen national programme planning and development, and monitoring and evaluation efforts. Compared to the resources made available through other funding mechanisms, PAF monies are relatively small. However, these small amounts can maximize the comparative advantages of the UN, and ensure that its contribution can be critical to an effective response.

China

Objectives: Strengthen the capacity of the ACFTU to develop quality HIV/AIDS policy and programs in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the China Enterprise Confederation and national and provincial AIDS working committees. Assist the ACFTU to create an enabling environment to scale up prevention and care services for vulnerable migrant workers. Assist the ACFTU to conduct programs to reduce HIV stigma and high-risk behaviors of migrant workers in economic sectors vulnerable to HIV risk.

Background: China’s HIV/AIDS Action Plan from 2006 calls for broad scale prevention and care services for rural migrant labourers working in vulnerable economic sectors such as natural resource procurement, construction and transportation. The government has set ambitious targets to provide effective prevention services to 90% of all rural migrant labourers by 2010 working primarily through state and privately owned enterprises. The action plan calls for increasing access to HIV treatment for rural migrants through the “Four Frees and One Care Policy” and to urban workers through the Basic Health Insurance Scheme. Despite these ambitious targets, effective prevention and care services have only reached a small proportion of vulnerable workers in the country.
As the HIV/AIDS epidemic shifts from injecting drug use to commercial sex workers in many provinces throughout the country, workplace prevention programs prioritizing mobile male workers, who are proven to be at great risk for sexually transmitted infection and HIV, can prevent the bridging of HIV from the commercial sex industry to vulnerable women and children in the general population. Workplace programs which jointly involve ILO constituents in China, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MOLSS), the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC) and the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), can play a critical role in developing national, provincial and enterprise level policies and programs to protect the rights of HIV positive workers, reduce HIV transmission and increase availability and use of VCT and HIV/AIDS care, support and treatment services.
Working through the UN joint program on HIV/AIDS, the ILO has taken initial steps to assist the MOLSS, the CEC and the ACFTU to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive workplace response adhering to the principals and guidelines laid out in the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS in the World of Work. In 2004, the ILO assisted the ACFTU to develop its Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control (2004-2010) and carry out the Red Ribbon Health Campaign for Workers. The campaign channeled anti-stigma and prevention messages to thousands of workers nationwide. While the ACFTU has made significant progress at the national level in obtaining firm leadership and developing a national level Strategic Plan, there is an urgent need to scale up HIV programs for vulnerable migrant workers.
Realizing the need to develop a broader and more systematic workplace response in China, the ILO recently launched a larger initiative funded by the US Department of Labor (USDOL) to assist the MOLSS and CEC to develop national and provincial level policies and programs in industrial sectors with proven HIV vulnerability in Guangdong, Anhui and Yunnan provinces. The ILO is also mainstreaming HIV prevention into its small business training program for migrants (SIYB) and anti-trafficking project (CP-TING).
An important gap in these initiatives is the absence of available funding to support complementary program activities in the ACFTU. The ACFTU can play a critical role in advocating for the rights of HIV positive workers to keep their jobs and access quality care, support and treatment services. The ACFTU also possesses the reach, infrastructure and credibility to reduce HIV related stigma among workers on a broad scale and deliver effective prevention by utilizing peer level approaches appropriate for dealing with sensitive topics related to HIV. Through its initial activities such as the Red Ribbon Health Campaign, the ACFTU has also demonstrated solid potential to both manage its own activities and encourage national tripartite parties, the MOLSS and the CEC, to create policies and programs to meet national objectives on HIV/AIDS stated in the National Action Plan on HIV/AIDS (2006-2010).

Summary paragraph: Building on previous partnerships with the All China Federation of Trade Unions (AFCTU), this project seeks to strengthen the ACFTU’s capacity to develop quality HIV/AIDS policy and programs in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the China Enterprise Confederation and national and provincial AIDS working committees. It assists the ACFTU to create an enabling environment to scale up prevention and care services for vulnerable migrant workers and to conduct programs to reduce HIV stigma and high-risk behaviors of migrant workers in economic sectors vulnerable to HIV risk. Activities include workshops for union leaders on the key principles of the Code of Practice, training for sectoral and enterprise level ACFTU representatives to implement behaviour change and anti stigma programs, and the promotion of newly established policies through the ACFTU through sectoral and company level initiatives in target provinces