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Labour Minister says there should be no workplace discrimination

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HON. GLYNIS ROBERTS
St. George’s, July 29, 2011 (GIS)
– Labour Minister Glynis Roberts has said that a collaborative approach is required in dealing with workers known to be infected with HIV or AIDS.

Clear policies and strategies must be developed to address the issue that is of concern to employers, the labour movement and government, Mrs. Roberts told delegates attending a consultation on “HIV/AIDS at the Workplace.’’

Participants included Madhuri Supersad, HIV/AIDS specialist of the International Labour Organization, which co-sponsored the consultation.

The Labour Minister said that while HIV/AIDS statistics in Grenada may not be as high as in other countries, one case is still too many.

“Employers are concerned about the cost to them when employees are off on sick leave, while the labour movement wants to ensure there is no discrimination against HIV/AIDS-infected workers,’’ said Mrs. Roberts.

“We in government, of course, are very concerned about the overall effect on the development of our country and about ensuring the human rights of infected persons.’’

The Minister pointed to steps taken to provide treatment to Grenadians infected with HIV and AIDS.

“We are fortunate to have in place a programme that provides anti-viral drugs to infected persons at no cost,’’ she said. “What continues to be a challenge is getting infected persons to come forward and declare their status for fear of discrimination.’’

Minister Roberts said “discrimination must not raise its ugly head in the workplace,’’ and called for a change attitude and thinking with respect to HIV victims and those suffering from the deadly AIDS disease.

“Today can be you; tomorrow can be me. So, let us treat others as we would like to be treated,’’ she said. “Let us change our thinking, and view the AIDS victim in a similar way as we view the chain smoker or the alcoholic, or the cancer patient and other victims of potentially terminal ailments.’’
 

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