AngloGold Signs Pact With Five Unions to Fight HIV/AIDS Among Mine Workers in South AfricaAngloGold, one of the largest mining groups in the world, on Thursday signed an agreement with five trade unions to fight HIV/AIDS among its 45,000 employees in South Africa, Business Day/AllAfrica.com reports. Under the agreement -- signed with the National Union of Mineworkers, MWU Solidarity, the National Employees Trade Union, the South African Equity Workers' Association and the United Association of South Africa -- AngloGold will improve HIV/AIDS education efforts among its employees and encourage them to participate in the company's voluntary HIV testing and counseling programs and take advantage of the company's wellness centers if they test positive. The company will also monitor HIV incidence rates at its mines (Petros, Business Day/All Africa, 7/26). According to AngloGold, the program will add $4 to $6 to the price of an ounce of gold. If no additional measures are taken, the company estimates that the price of gold may rise by $9 an ounce because of higher rates of absenteeism (Lamont, Financial Times, 7/26). AngloGold CEO Bobby Godsell said that the company had a "well developed" response to the crisis, but needed the support of the unions to be fully "effective." He also noted that the company has reduced tuberculosis prevalence among HIV-positive workers by 80% through a similar awareness campaign (Business Day/AllAfrica.com, 7/26). Senzani Zokwana, president of the National Union of Mineworkers, said the agreement will "encourage people living with AIDS to be open about their status and will play a role in lessening the stigma attached to the disease" (Financial Times, 7/26).
Volkswagen South Africa Program
Volkswagen South Africa last week announced that it will launch an "ambitious" HIV/AIDS awareness program among its employees, Business DayAllAfrica.com reports. The program, which begins this week, will focus primarily on voluntary HIV testing and was developed with assistance from the German cooperation and development ministry. Volkswagon SA CEO Hans Christian Maergner said, "The devastating impact of HIV/AIDS is rolling back decades of development progress in Africa and is impacting on every element of our society from teachers, farmers, workers to managers. All of us are under attack. It follows that the motor industry in South Africa is also going to suffer. As more and more people become sick, there will be pressure on families, the workplace, the community and economy" (Fraser, Business Day/AllAfrica.com, 7/25).