Numsa joins hands with Solidarity CenterFrom January 1 until September 31 2009 Numsa will be working with the Solidarity Center to carry out its Aids programme. The project is called “Be Faithful, Be Tested, Be Union". Numsa News gives you some answers on what it will do.

What is the Solidarity Center?The Solidarity Center is a non-profit allied organization of the AFL-CIO, the largest trade union federation in the United States.

What is the programme all about?In the first year the project will focus on the Gauteng Province. It will target Numsa nationally, Gauteng provincially, and shop-floor level leadership. Workers and their families will also benefit.

What will the project do?In the first year until September 2009 the project aims to:Reach 56,000 workers and their families.

It wants to provide prevention education to workers; to mobilize workers and their families to voluntarily test for HIV; and to assess, strengthen, and monitor HIV and AIDS workplace policies.

It will do this in workplaces, at Numsa workshops and in union meetings, in Union family days and community events. People who are living with HIV and Aids will be asked to share their experiences with workers and their families.

Mobilize 3,000 workers and their families to receive voluntary counselling, testing, (VCT) and their HIV test results.Use respected union leaders to serve as VCT role models and VCT organizers.

What chance is there of the project extending to other provinces in 2010?If this is to happen, the aims that have been set must be achieved by the end of September. And at the end of March 2009, the funder will evaluate to see how far the project has gone.

(If you want to find out more about the project, phone Numsa's gender and Aids coordinator, Selina Tyikwe in Head Office on 011 689 1700)

——————————————————————————–How some commemorated National Aids Day – December 1 2008What did you do?

Numsa head office, JohannesburgI won't forget that day, when we went out to distribute condoms. It was fulfilling to do something and make a difference in other people's lives.

The response was positive. We asked people to take for themselves and for friends and families. Some of them were embarrassed but we motivated them. Others think that if people see you with a condom they think of infidelity.

I think there should be more programmes in place to educate people about Aids and HIV. People must know that even if they are not infected, they are affected because they have friends and families who are infected with the virus so we need more and more awareness.Elizabeth Ngobeni, Numsa Head Office

It amazes me the extent of the fear and stigma that still surrounds people regarding HIV/Aids. The general response from people was an eye-opener for me.

Many are still afraid or ashamed to ask questions, others making their plea clearly known. But for most, it was all mixed emotions. Melanie Roy, Numsa head office

Aberdare Cables, JohannesburgAt Aberdare Cables (Eloff) we had 30 minutes in which all workers were reminded about the importance of ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful and Condomise).

We had a moment of silence for those who had passed-on. We said that even if you are not infected with HIV/AIDS you are still affected. It is most important to know your status and all live a healthy life style. Zithande Vincent Zakwe, shop steward

Xstrata Alloys, RustenburgOur commemoration started at 12h00 and ended at 16hoo. Our company made a big special World Aids day in the Wonderkop Lapa. We invited all 21 Xstrata Alloys sister company plants and all our CEOs and General Works Managers were part of this event. Our union leaders (Numsa, Solidarity and Num) lit candles for each plant. Bernard Mtyotywa, Xstrata

Graftech, SedibengThe company provided us with 30 minutes per department and we were able to round them up with ease as from 09h30 until 12h00. We had among our delegation Mirriam Makhalamele, our regional education officer and Tiny Matsaneng, the regional receptionist and two people from Solidarity Centre who helped us a lot. Management was represented by the Industrial Nurse. Lesilo Maake, Graftech

Bosch, BritsWe had a 1-hour stoppage which included a candle lit session with the work force and directors.Caps and T-shirts were issued to everybody. Workers were advised that female condoms were now available.

This exciting information was silently noted and welcomed.All logistics and arrangements were successfully co-ordinated by a very effective group of peer educators together with the company's Wellness Practitioner and the shop stewards.After some speeches from various people, Caliber Consultants, the company's partner for HIV and AIDS presented their initiatives, collective efforts and progress noted ever since their involvement.Louis Makata, full-time shop steward

GMSA, Port ElizabethAt GMSA we had a three hour general meeting where the first 30 minutes was dedicated to HIV/AIDS awareness programme with a moment of silence observed followed by the lighting of a candle.

A girl from Hillcrest primary school touched the souls and hearts of more than 2500 workers in singing the song called "My redeemer". Also present at the general meeting as guest speaker was the newly elected Numsa Eastern Cape Regional secretary Zanoxolo Wayile.GMSA Shopstewards committee.

BMW, RosslynThis was a very special day for BMW employees. Candles were all over the canteen. Red and white was the order of the day. At 1 o'clock in the afternoon workers took their test to check their status.We did not stop for 30 minutes but for an hour from 3-4 pm.

Our guest speakers were Dr J Hedrich a production Director, Dr M Mosia HR Director, Dr N Mayet, Tebogo Mongale, a student who has been living with the virus since 2006 who told his story to the workforce and Derrick Dladla a fulltime shopsteward as an MC for the day.Derrick Dladla, BMW

ZF Lemforder, RosslynWe had a 30-minute work stoppage. We started with opening remarks by ZF Lemforder Safety, Health and Environment co-ordinator, David Komane.

He said that we were joining the world on World Aids Day to fight this killer disease, HIV/AIDS.Our gender rep, Laurence Morudu introduced our guests from American Solidarity Centre -Kuki Ndlovu, Cynthia Mamon and Zeru as well as Duduzile Rabothata from Numsa Hlanganani Region.

Phanzi ngo HIV/AIDS phanzi!!Kuki Ndlovu shared her speech about HIV/Aids and asked us to join hands together, support each other as workers to fight against and break those chains of HIV/Aids, which are also affecting our workplaces.

To end off we had a minute of silence to remember those we have lost to the AIDS pandemic and those who are affected and infected by the disease.Paul Mosehle, Workers' Committee Chairperson


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