Trade Union on the Move for Rio+20 - discussion on HIV/AIDS

Over 100 trade union centres from across the globe, around 500 trade unionists, gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the II Trade Union Assembly on Labour and the Environment from 11 to 13 June, a few days ahead of Rio+20, have called on governments to undertake a process of profound change in all areas of economic life. The discussion also included HIV/AIDS.

Trade unions are defending the sustainability of the planet, its inhabitants and future generations.

The final statement drawn up by the Assembly calls on governments to acknowledge that social protection is a human right - and to provide, facilitate and extend social protection coverage.

The statement also invokes that the health and the security of workers, their families and their communities, and environmental protection are two sides of the same coin, essential if we are to move towards decent work and equity and justice which are cornerstones of sustainable development.

The Assembly’s final document advocates the introduction of a Tax on Financial Transactions at global level. The trade unionists argue that the revenues from such an initiative could contribute to the fight against climate change, to development and the re-regulation of the financial sector.

"Enough talk! Governments must make real commitments towards change. Humanity needs a radical change of direction in favour of sustainable development. The trade union movement will be present at Rio+20, along with other social movements, to make this change possible," said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The text of the Assembly’s final document is available here:

Multimedia are available here:

The Assembly’s session “Building Alliances for Change” that took place on 13 June, created an opportunity to highlight the need for innovative partnerships, including on health and sustainable development, and to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding that has been recently signed by the ITUC and UN Joint Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Marine Davtyan from the UNAIDS New York office took part in the session.

Interviews with the Assembly’s delegates are available here:

María Romelia Hernández, National Council of United Trade Unions (CNUS SINATRE) from Dominican Republic, on HIV/AIDS

Daniel Owusu Boatey Trade Union Congress Ghana (TUC Ghana) on HIV/AIDS

Yahya Msangi - Regional Coordinator, International Trade Union Confederation Africa (ITUC Africa) on HIV/AIDS

The background document for the discussion “HIV/AIDS, health, climate change and sustainable development – making the links for the trade union response” is available here: