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July 2013  Issue 1
African & Canadian Unions Launch
Workers’ Health Network News &
Facebook Pages
A partnership of the Canadian
Labour Congress (CLC) and
the International Trade Union
Confederation for the Africa
region (ITUC Africa) has
launched this newsletter
and accompanying
Facebook page to
strengthen a global
network of activists.
For a pdf of this newletter in English:
Pour un pdf de cette publication en français: WHN-FR-issue 1-2013-06-26
On the horizon

Few were surprised by the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) confirma-
tion that development aid fell by 4% in real terms in
2012, after a 2% decline in 2011. The financial crisis
and euro zone turmoil were cited as reasons, but what
did surprise was the noticeable shift in aid from the
poorest countries to middle-income countries. Just
as the thousand-day countdown to the MDG dead-
lines begins, OECD aid to countries with the larg-
est MDG gaps and poverty levels is likely to stag-
nate, including sub-Saharan African countries such
as Burundi, Chad, Madagascar, Malawi and Niger.
Against this backdrop big questions loom over wheth-
er the Global Fund will succeed with its Fourth Re-
plenishment this fall and where health and HIV/AIDS
will figure on the post-2015 development agenda.
A Global Fund report estimates that $87 billion
will be needed to effectively fight AIDS, TB and
malaria in low-income and middle-income coun-
tries during 2014-16. Germany’s announcement
committing one billion euros over five years was a
huge boost. Dirk Niebel, Germany’s Federal Min-
ister of Economic Cooperation and Development,
declared in the Huffington Post’s The Big Push
blog, “Health is a vital prerequisite for human
development. Even more: it is a human right.”
“Despite a turbulent past year, the [Global]
fund continued to deliver results,” The Lancet
states, adding, “A new era of stability is dawn-
ing for the fund with Mark Dybul, a highly expe-
rienced executive director, now at the helm, and
the rollout of a revised funding model in 2014,
which should achieve more strategic investment.”
On another front, fuelled by fears that hard-won
ground would be lost, a chorus of voices chimed
in to insist that health and HIV rank high on the
post-2015 development agenda. Beginning in au-
tumn 2012 through March 2013, a global the-
matic consultation gathered perspectives from
online platforms, regional consultations, state-
ments and petitions from groups such as Inter-
national Council of AIDS Service Organizations
(ICASO) and the International AIDS Alliance,
culminating in the April release of a final report.
Speaking in March at the final High-Level Dialogue
on Health, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel
Sidibé declared, “We need to completely rethink how
global health will engage on issues from intellectual
property to the production of essential medicines
and the central role of countries and communities.”
July will be a busy month for African AIDS activists
with no let down in gearing up for what is shaping
up to be a historic moment in the future of global
health and the continued response to HIV/AIDS
when the UN General Assembly special session on
the post-2015 development agenda gets underway
in September and the Global Fund’s Fourth Replen-
ishment takes place in the last quarter of the year.
Who’s steering the health agenda?
A publication released by the African Union, the
New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NE-
PAD) and UNAIDS, ‘World leaders embrace the
African Union Roadmap on AIDS, TB and ma-
laria,’ outlines what is described as an innovative
framework developed by African leaders to deliver
equitable and sustainable improvements in health
across the African continent. The key words used to
describe the framework are “shared responsibility.”
At the same time the UN calls for an end
to- ‘the dilemma of dependency’– but if coun-
tries are prevented from setting priorities and
controlling the means of production of essen-
tial goods including lifesaving medicines, how
can they be expected to ‘share responsibility’?
Advocates are stepping up their efforts in the WHA and
at national level to bring about better policy balance:
 Who does research into the diseases of
the poor?
Research funding in the pharmaceutical industry
tends to focus on areas with the greatest potential
for profit. This means that areas that could have the
greatest impact on public health are largely ignored –
these include TB, malaria and Chagas disease. Com-
municable diseases such as these cause 10 million
deaths a year, 90% of them in developing countries.
On 26 May 2012, the World Health Assembly adopt-
ed a resolution that could be the first step towards a
new pharmaceutical research model. The members
decided to undertake a government-level examina-
tion of a report by an international group of experts
which recommends the adoption of a binding con-
vention on research and development. This was
highly controversial, with developed and developing
countries taking opposite sides, but the proposal
still on the agenda. More background on the differ-
ing perspectives can be found in an interview with
Doctors without Borders on the website of the Cen-
ter for Global Health R&D Policy Assessment at Re-
sults for Development Institute and an article in the
online Bulletin of the World Health Organization.
 And who gets treatment?
The Third World Network reports how action by
the governments of Indonesia and India to is-
sue compulsory licences are extending access to
cheaper medicines, including for HIV/AIDS, can-
cer and hepatitis B. When medicines are patented,
usually resulting in high prices, the rules of the
World Trade Organisation (WTO) allow govern-
ments to issue a compulsory licence for the im-
port or productive of (cheaper) generic medicines.
Malaysia in 2003 was the first country to issue a
compulsory licence to a local firm to import generic
HIV/AIDS drugs from India. Since then Indonesia
and Thailand have also issued licences for the pro-
duction of antiretrovirals for HIV/AIDS. In 2012 the
Indian government approved a compulsory licence
to enable a local company to produce generic ver-
sions of drugs to treat kidney and liver cancer. The
same year Indonesia took out another licence for the
import and production of drugs to treat hepatitis B.
UNAIDS and UNDP have called on World Trade
Organisation (WTO) members to extend the ex-
emptions to the TRIPS agreement which allow the
world’s poorest countries access life-saving drugs at
costs they can afford. The exemptions are set to ex-
pire this July. Failure to act will jeopardize crucial
treatment for HIV/AIDS and other diseases and un-
dermine achievement of the Millennium Develop-
ment Goals, say the agency heads. The agencies re-
leased a joint issue brief urging members of the World
Trade Organization to consider the special needs of
Least Developed Countries. The 1995 Agreement
on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Rights (TRIPS) sets minimum standards for various
forms of intellectual property regulation, including
medical drugs. LDCs had been granted a ‘transition
period’ before they were obliged to comply – this
should be extended while needs remain so urgent.

IRE IN THE BLOOD – an intricate tale of
‘medicine, monopoly and malice.
The film tells the story of how Western phar-
maceutical companies and governments aggres-
sively blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs
for the countries of Africa and the global south
in the years after 1996 - causing ten million or
more unnecessary deaths - and the improbable
group of people who decided to fight back.
And who gets treatment? UPDATE
On June 11, the website Knowledge Ecology In-
ternational reported the WTO TRIPS Council’s
approval of an eight year extension of TRIPS Ob-
ligations for Least Developed Countries until
July 1, 2021. The new extension has some restric-
tions, but also more freedoms and the elimination
of the widely criticized “no rollback” clause. The
Council’s decision was hailed by US-based Health
GAP and the Uganda-based Centre for Health,
Human Rights and Development (CEHURD)
even though it falls short of the LDCs proposal.
TB control
Still waiting: No code for SADC Declaration
to reduce TB in mining
South Africa’s mineworkers may have the high-
est tuberculosis incidence in the world, but
the numbers of TB cases are alarming among
mineworkers across Africa. The Stop TB Part-
nership reports up to 7,000 of 100,000 miners
have TB compared to the global rate of 128 per
100,000. In the general South African population
the tuberculosis rate is about 900 per 100,000.
Data collected from autopsies on former miners have
also shown a prevalence of latent and undiagnosed
TB as high as 90 percent, according to a 2009 study.
To great fanfare 15 southern African leaders signed
the ‘Declaration on TB in the Mining Sector’, a le-
gal instrument, at an August 2012 summit meeting
of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) Heads of State and Government in Maputo,
Mozambique. A code of conduct to accompany the
declaration was to be signed by the following month.
A March report by IRIN, the UN’s Integrated Re-
gional Information Networks, reviews progress
on the declaration and code of conduct. Lynette
Mabote, regional HIV, TB and human rights ad-
vocacy team leader at the AIDS Rights Alliance of
Southern Africa (ARASA), says groups like hers
called for a five- or 10-year action plan, with con-
crete steps to be taken to implement the declara-
tion instead of a code. Now she says the draft code
was dismissed by ministers of health at a SADC
meeting in Angola in July 2012. A SADC techni-
cal working group reworked the document in No-
vember, but a final version has yet to be released.
TB in the mining sector has been a danger in
plain view for a very long time. According to
Rodney Ehrlich from the Centre for Occupa-
tional and Environmental Health Research at
University of Cape Town, the additional occupa-
tional risks associated with the sector include:
• A high burden of silicosis, a res-piratory disease
that develops due to in-haling silica dust dur-
ing the mining pro-cess and could be viewed as
an immune deficiency illness;
• Silica dust load in the lungs and previous lung
• Poor living conditions, including overcrowding;
• Circular migration between neigh-bouring
countries and South Africa, lead-ing to inter-
rupted TB/HIV treatment and poor access to
A Lancet article cited a 2011 study which found that
the silica dust exposure associated with underground
mining production could be responsible for 760,000
new and reactivated TB cases every year in African
mining countries. Crowded living conditions are an-
other factor increasing the risk of pulmonary tuber-
culosis. Sex work around the all-male hostels also
fuels the co-epidemic of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
Watch this space!
The inaugural issue of Workers’ Health Network

hits inboxes in the closing days of campaigns
to influence the leaders gathering for the 39th G8
summit at the Lough Erne Resort, in Fermanagh,
Northern Ireland, June 17-18 as well as critical high-
level AIDS-related meetings in Africa this July. This
is unfortunate because a main purpose of WHN News
is to help trade unions and their allies to influence
the outcomes of just such major advocacy venues.
We will report and analyse the 2013 G8 outcomes
and the recently released 2013 African Union ac-
countability report on Africa-G8 partnership com-
mitments, but we also have our eyes trained on the
September G20 summit and other international
and regional venues of significance. Trade unions
have long sought to influence the G8, but since
2005 special efforts have focused on holding the
G8 accountable for its AIDS-related commitments.
The five year effort of the now-defunct Global Unions
AIDS Programme (GUAP) was instrumental in
pressing the G8 to create the first-ever accountabili-
ty mechanism. Accountability has since grown to be
a substantial element of the G8 process. The CLC-
ITUC African Partnership continued the campaigns
to press G8 government to keep their promise to
reach the goal of universal access to HIV prevention,
treatment, care and support as GUAP was disbanded.
Continuing the tradition the CLC-ITUC African
Partnership has been tracking summit prepara-
tions since the closing months of 2012 while engag-
ing in a quiet effort to ensure the G8 reaffirms their
commitments to reach the goal of universal access
to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,
support a successful Global Fund replenishment,
and produce a thorough G8 accountability report.
UK government sources with direct knowledge
of the status of G8 discussions have assured The
News the 2013 G8 Accountability report will de-
tail progress in meeting the G8’s AIDS-related
commitments, including its support for the Global
Fund. The sources say the report will be one of
the most comprehensive the G8 has issued to date.
G8 host Prime Minister Cameron’s decision to
sharply limit the UK summit agenda to the three
T’s—taxes, transparency and trade--prompted
the CLC-ITUC partnership to deliberately down-
play the visibility of this years’ G8 campaign. In-
stead, the partnership is looking to press its
priorities to the leaders gathering at the G20
Summit scheduled to take place this September
in St. Petersburg, Russia on September 5-6, 2013
Watch this space and our companion Face-
book page for details on how you can sup-
port the partnership’s G20 campaign to:
• Extend HIV/AIDS rights guarantees to workers
• Achieve an AIDS-free generation by 2015
• Fully replenish the Global Fund, and

• Expand the Muskoka Initiative goals for mater-
nal child health
Sad day at the WHO’s Executive Board
On 29 May 2013, the meeting of the Executive
Board (EB) of the World Health Organization
opened as usual with an invitation to members to
approve the agenda. This included a paper request-
ed by Switzerland and the United States entitled
‘Improving the health and well-being of lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender persons’. Delegates
from the African and Middle East Regions request-
ed its removal for a range of reasons – procedural,
cultural and political – while others argued for the
importance of its inclusion. The debate raged for
over three hours, including an attempt to mediate
by the Director-General, but it became clear that
there was no way to bridge the differences between
EB members and the paper was effectively blocked.
The decision of the EB (which came less than two
weeks after the International Day against Ho-
mophobia) means that the WHO is being pre-
vented from promoting its core principle ‘Health
for all’ and fulfilling its role to lead on matters of
public health. It means that the health needs of
a large minority of the world’s population are be-
ing ignored - a community that desperately needs
to have access to health services which are often
denied to them as the result of stigma and dis-
crimination. It’s a kick in the face for people who
on the one hand are often victimized but on the
other have themselves made huge contributions to
community health, especially in the face of AIDS.

ITUC Africa mobilizing unions against
ITUC Africa represents affiliated national
trade union federations and confederations
in 48 African countries with a total member-
ship of approximately 16,000,000 workers.
Yahya Msangi, the coordinator for Occupation-
al Safety and Health and Environment, reports.
Ongoing activities:
ITUC Africa helps national trade union confed-
erations to develop policies, negotiate Collective
Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) and carry out
training. It has published an inventory of work-
place best practices in Tanzania, Kenya, Ugan-
da, Zambia, Cote d’ Ivoire, Malawi and Zambia.
Together with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
it supports trade unions in Africa in a campaign to
monitor international commitments on HIV/AIDS
and lobby for compliance. For the past three years,
ITUC Africa and the CLC have coordinated a region-
al and global campaign prior to each G8 Summit.

Current priorities:
i) Incorporating health issues (including HIV and
AIDS) in international initiatives and negotia-
tions such as those conducted under the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC), the Rio+20 process on Sus-
tainable Development and the UN Post-2015
Development Framework consultations.
ii) Promoting implementation of ILO Recommen-
dation 200 on HIV and AIDS and the world of
iii) Negotiating more health-related workplace
CBAs and policies.
iv) Addressing the challenge of orphans, widows
and vulnerable children in and around work-
National unions
CUPE adopts HIV/AIDS policy
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
has updated its policy on HIV and AIDS. The
CUPE HIV/ AIDS policy – a workplace response to
the pandemic was adopted by the National Ex-
ecutive Board in March 2013, and builds on the
groundbreaking work initiated by its first policy in
1995. Since then there have been many scientific
and medical advances. Progress is significant but
still very fragile.
“Our vision is shaped by 15 years of work, most
recently at a strategy meeting in October 2012.
Nearly 50 CUPE members, activists, leaders, staff
and allies joined together to help better under-
stand the important challenges and emerging
issues for those affected by HIV and AIDS, both in
Canada and around the world.” CUPE news flash
The new policy provides the foundation for the
union’s work. It shows why the pandemic is both
a human rights issue and a workplace issue for
unions and labour activists. It includes concepts
to consider in bargaining for the support of CUPE
members and affected workers everywhere. The
appendix outlines information that may help start
conversations and actions in locals, workplaces and
UPE at AIDS 2012: Promoting public
first solutions
CUPE’s delegation left the International
AIDS Conference with renewed resolve to
promote public health and social services as
critical tools to stop the spread of HIV and
care for people living with HIV and AIDS.
The conference gave a glimpse into the ever-
increasing role of the private sector and corpo-
rate philanthropy in funding programs, ad-
ministering projects and delivering services to
people living with HIV/AIDS -- loosely labelled
as “public-private partnerships.”
CUPE delegates challenged this charitable
model of relying on corporate generosity as un-
sustainable and undemocratic. They also raised
concerns about accountability and accessibility
of services. They argued that the way forward
must be increased funding to end poverty and
improve the delivery of public health care and
other vital services. A commitment to build
stronger links between disability rights activ-
ists and HIV/AIDS activists was another key
outcome for CUPE’s delegation.
Global Union Federations
New materials from the International Trans-
port Workers’ Federation are posted on its
HIV/AIDS pages including resource packs for civil
aviation and for ports (forthcoming) and collected
good practices. It has recently completed an inde-
pendent evaluation of its HIV/AIDS programme.
This found that ITF support has been a crucial
factor in the HIV/AIDS responses of affiliates:
• the direct information, technical guidance and
political support the ITF provides have helped
transform capacity and build confidence;
• membership of an international federation has
conferred status – even legitimacy – on the
affiliates in the eyes of partners and potential
partners; and
• ITF membership has facilitated cooperation
among affiliates around AIDS, even across lan-
guage and cultural divides.
What is more, activism on HIV and AIDS has reinvigo-
rated unions, built valuable skills and knowledge, and
broadened their appeal to many unorganised workers.
A major current Public Services International
(PSI) campaign is To make health workers healthy
workers. This is an occupational health and safe-
ty campaign on the prevention of needlestick in-
juries and bloodborne diseases (Hepatitis, HIV)
and the promotion of vaccination for Hepatitis B.
PSI has produced a DVD, ‘Sharp Sense’, that
highlights prevention of needle-stick inju-
ries and access to HIV post-exposure prophy-
laxis. ‘Sharp Sense’ can be seen on YouTube.
IV/AIDS project evaluation
An external evaluation report assess-
ing the HIV/AIDS project PSI coordinated with
British union UNISON targeting Southern Af-
rica’s public sector and a booklet summarising
good practices and lessons learnt Southern can
be found on the PSI website.
IndustriALL was formed in 2012 as a result
of the merging of ICEM, IMF and ITGLWF. ‘In-
dustriALL Responds to HIV/AIDS’ describes
the main priorities of its AIDS work as the nego-
tiation of framework and collective agreements,
promotion of voluntary counselling and testing
(VCT) campaigns to protect workers and develop-
ing networks of peer educators. It has been par-
ticularly successful in organising women workers
through involving them in HIV/AIDS activities.
African AIDS activists meet unions in
eight Canadian cities
The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) joined the
Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) to support an eight
city Solidarity tour from May 2 -15, for community
AIDS activists from three African countries, Kenya,
Zambia and Zimbabwe. The delegation briefed local
union members, labour councils and federations of
labour on the impact of AIDS on working families,
workplaces and the response in African communi-
ties. These meetings enabled the African activists
to tell their stories and share their expertise and
how the solidarity of Canadian workers is making
a big difference in Africa. The CLC and SLF also
wanted the delegation to tell Canadian workers
and community members how they can still get in-
volved in the AIDS response and support. The CLC
HIV/AIDS Labour Fund was established in 2003
to assist the CLC and our labour partners to pool
resources and to work together on HIV/AIDS. The
fund’s main mandate is to support the programs
and projects from workers’ organizations work-
ing to prevent HIV/AIDS, addressing the impact
on workers, their families and their workplaces.
Health and social protection
“Health for all is a moral, ethical and social imperative”
The NGO Forum for Health, based in Geneva, Swit-
zerland, brings together 25 local and global organ-
isations involved in health. Its mission is to advo-
cate the right to health for all. It provides a platform
to promote global health-related dialogue and sup-
port work on current health issues, most recently:
mental health and psychosocial support, the health
of health workers, and the gender dimensions
of health. It has recently launched a newsletter.
A recent symposium, held jointly with PSI, ex-
amined ‘After the MDGs: Social Protection for
Workers and by Workers’. Strategies were de-
veloped to build on and implement ILO Rec-
ommendation 202 on social protection floors.
The Recommendation itself is part of the action plan
of the Social Protection Floor Initiative. This was cre-
ated in 2009 by the UN – led by the ILO – as a crisis
response initiative. A global coalition of agencies and
development partners promote universal access to:
• essential services (health, education,
• social transfers in cash or in kind, to ensure in-
come security, food security, adequate nutrition,
and access to essential services.
The production of this
newsletter is made possible
by the Global Foundation
for Social Harmony &
Sustainable Development
and its Trade Union Sus-
tainable Development Unit.
Send your news information to the editors:
Robert Lovelace
Susan Leather:
The African and Canadian contacts are:
In/En Africa/Afrique:
Yahya Msangi
International Trade Union Confederation –
Africa (ITUC-Africa)
ITUC Africa, Route Internationale d’Atakpame
P.B: 4401 Lome, Togo
+ 228 22250710
+ 228 2256113
In /Au Canada:
David Onyalo
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
2841 Riverside Drive,
Ottawa, Ontario K1V 8X7
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