HIV trade union policies in Cambodia

Article | 04 June 2010

Trade unions recognize the impact that HIV has on their members and increasingly see that they are in an ideal position to help in the fight against HIV in the workplace. Union leaders and members were involved in the ILO programme in Cambodia from the beginning, and received training from the project on HIV in the workplace as well as policy development. With financial and technical support from the ILO, a working group of inter-trade unions went on to develop a policy on the prevention and management of HIV/AIDS in the workplace in Cambodia.

The policy was adopted by the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions (CCTU) and the Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) in May 2006. A separate policy was endorsed by the Cambodian Construction Workers Trade Union Federation (CCTUF) in 2006 and the National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia (NACC) also endorsed its own policy in 2007. The objective of the policy is to provide a set of guidelines to address the HIV epidemic in workers’ organizations. Key areas are the prevention of HIV, mitigation of the impact of HIV on trade union members and their families, care and support of members who are living with HIV and the elimination of stigma and discrimination.

The SHARE project supported the printing of 8000 copies of this policy for both confederations, the CCTUF and NACC to distribute to their leaders and members.

One of the trade unions, the Angkor Preservation Workers Trade Union, affiliated to the CCTUF, successfully incorporated HIV education and prevention into its collective bargaining agreement with its employers. The union leader Din Veasna said, “This was no easy task, but I am extremely pleased that it has been achieved as it will provide HIV education for our members as well as prevent discrimination against those who are HIV-positive.”