Policy no licence for promiscuity, labour minister warns

Published: October 19, 2011

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Minister of Labour Dr Errol Cort has warned that the proposed national policy on HIV and AIDS in the workplace should not be viewed as a licence for promiscuity.

Dr Cort was speaking yesterday to those gathered at City View Hotel for a consultative workshop to finalise the draft.  The policy aims to promote non-discrimination of persons living with the disease.

“Let’s not use that to be loose and callous in our sexual behaviour,” Dr Cort said. “Let us all remember that safe sex is the way to go and that must be promoted at the workplace as part of the policy.

“It is not only that we are saying not to discriminate against persons living with HIV and AIDS, we are saying that at the workplace; there should be a safe sex policy. All of these things are interrelated,” he added.

The consultative workshop where the document was reviewed brought together more than 30 people representing different interest groups.

The labour minister said the document would not be effective if there is no stakeholder buy-in, adding that he looked forward to the day when employers and employees would seek to embrace and build the policy as part of the collective bargaining process.

“So when we review your collective agreements, we see the policy enshrined therein and that it forms part of your conditions and terms of work, but, for that to happen there has to be wholesale buy-in to this particular process,” he said.

Labour Commissioner Hesketh Williams, who also addressed participants, said some residents have already indicated their resistance to the policy. However, he said, if it is embraced, it will highlight the progress the nation has made.

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