Issue date
30 Aug 2017

Over half a million workers are now covered by the TUC’s Dying to Work Charter, which guarantees rights for workers facing a terminal diagnosis. The milestone was reached as Royal Mail Group signed the charter today (Wednesday,).

Royal Mail joins fifty other employers who have signed the charter, including Santander, Legal and General, the Co-op, universities, local authorities, and various public bodies. Energy company E.ON was the first to sign in April 2016.

The charter is part of the TUC’s wider “Dying to Work” campaign which is seeking greater security for terminally-ill workers.

The campaign began following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 59-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

The TUC is asking employers to sign up to the voluntary charter to stop cases like Jacci’s happening in the future.

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, said:

“Your job should be the least of your worries when you get a terminal diagnosis.

“Royal Mail has shown real leadership in this area, working with unions like the CWU to guarantee fair treatment for terminally-ill workers.

“Over half a million workers are now covered the Dying to Work charter, and we expect more employers to commit in the coming months.”

Dr Shaun Davis, Royal Mail Group Global Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability, said:

“Everyone experiences terminal illness in a unique way, and at Royal Mail we want to ensure that any of our people diagnosed with such an illness is supported at work through a tailored and flexible approach. Signing up to the Dying to Work Charter builds on the policies and guides we already have in place to help employees, and their direct families, if they receive such a diagnosis.

“We also understand the impact of a terminal condition on the affected employee’s family and work colleagues. We provide employee assistance services, which include counselling, through our First Class Support service. This is free of charge and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for them and their families. Our unique Rowland Hill Fund benevolent fund can also provide financial support to cover unexpected costs related to a terminal illness.”

CWU National Health, Safety and Environment Officer, Dave Joyce, said:

“This is an important event today and a proud day for CWU and for Royal Mail, one of the UK’s biggest employers, to be signing the ‘Dying to Work’ Charter. My union has supported this campaign from its inception and our Conference unanimously backed its aims. “Dying to Work” tackles the issue of the rights and protection of workers with terminal illness and this Charter ensures that those workers facing a terminal illness diagnosis are not denied the choice of continuing work or how to spend their final months or years. That is, with dignity and being able to continue at work if they so wish.

“Royal Mail in its role as a good employer is committing to support employees in such circumstances, providing those employees, our members, with support and the continued security of work, peace of mind, the right to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families, without financial loss and guaranteeing protection of their death in service benefits for the loved ones, they sadly leave behind.”

Brian Scott, Unite officer for Royal Mail said:

"This is an important development which will offer this who have a terminal illness diagnosed support and remove stress and worry in these difficult circumstances.

"Signing this pledge today takes the number of employees covered by the charter to over half a million and that is a significant step.

"The charter provides for security of work, peace of mind and an opportunity to make the decision that is right for the individual and their families.   It will also support employment protection and allow them to undertake the type of work that is suited to their condition in a dignified and therapeutic way"

"This is another example of Unite working hard to improve the position of workers across a number if industries and in this specific case ensures that all workers, over 140,000 in Royal Mail and Parcelforce, are supported should they experience terminal illness."
 

ENDS

Notes to Editors:
- The official signing will take place in Congress House (London WC1B 3LS) at 10.00am on Wednesday 30th August.

- Other employers to sign up to the charter include:

  • AB Produce, Acivico, Carillion Rail, E-on, Co-op, Legal & General, Mersey Travel, Pellacraft Santander, Serco, The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company
  • Birmingham City Council, Cardiff Council, City of Lincoln Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Gedling Borough Council, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Liverpool City Council, London Borough of Harrow Council, London Borough of Islington Council, Mansfield District Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, North Kesteven District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Sheffield City Council, South Lanarkshire Council, Tameside Council,
  • Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Pennine Care NHS Trust, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Southport & Ormskirk NHS Trust, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
  • British Dietetic Association, GMB, Hospice UK, National Council for Palliative Care
  • Nottingham City Homes, Central College Nottingham, Sheffield College, University of Kent, Scottish Qualifications Authority
  • Derbyshire Police, Northamptonshire Police, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service

- The TUC Dying to Work Voluntary Charter states:

1. We recognise that terminal illness requires support and understanding and not additional and avoidable stress and worry.

2. Terminally ill workers will be secure in the knowledge that we will support them following their diagnosis and we recognise that safe and reasonable work can help maintain dignity, offer a valuable distraction and can be therapeutic in itself.

3. We will provide our employees with the security of work, peace of mind and the right to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families which helps them through this challenging period with dignity and without undue financial loss.

4. We support the TUC’s Dying to Work campaign so that all employees battling terminal illness have adequate employment protection and have their death in service benefits protected for the loved ones they leave behind.

- More information about the Dying to Work campaign can be found at www.dyingtowork.co.uk

- All TUC press releases can be found at tuc.org.uk/media

- TUC Press Office on Twitter: @tucnews

- Dying to Work hashtag: #dyingtowork