Union campaign to support terminally ill workers takes to the road

Picture posed by model/Reso/Shutterstock

The TUC’s campaign to protect terminally ill workers – Dying to Work – begins a national roadshow today from the union’s Congress in Brighton.

It will tour a number of hospitals with its final stop at the Labour party conference later this month.

The campaign was launched in 2016 after union member Jacci Woodcook was forced out of her sales manager job when she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

The TUC wants greater security for terminally ill workers so they are not dismissed because of their condition, and has asked employers to sign up to its voluntary charter.

Lloyds Bank signed the charter last month, joining other employers such as Rolls Royce and Royal Mail.

The charter asks that employers

  • recognise that those with a terminal illness need support and understanding and not additional and avoidable stress;
  • support staff following their diagnosis and recognise that safe and reasonable work can help maintain dignity, offer a distraction and can be therapeutic;
  • provide staff with the security of work and the right to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families, without undue financial loss; and
  • support the TUC’s Dying to Work campaign so that all employees with terminal illness have adequate employment protection and protection for their death in service benefits.

The TUC is touring NHS hospitals in a bid to get as many health services employers as possible to sign the charter. It has joined up with the NHS Social Partnership Forum to spread the word. The SPF brings together NHS Employers, NHS Trade Unions, Health Education England, NHS Improvement and the Department of Health to debate policy and implementation.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Your job should be the least of your worries when you get a terminal diagnosis.

“That’s why we are taking this tour around the country. Our NHS is there for us when we need it, and thanks to NHS employers and unions working together, we are proud that that NHS will be there for its workforce at all times.”

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