Fire Service makes pledge to protect terminally ill workers

TWFRS has made an official pledge to protect colleagues who become terminally ill at work.

The Service has joined the growing list of organisations supporting the rights of workers with a terminal illness by signing up to the TUC’s Dying to Work Voluntary Charter.

The Charter aims to combat discrimination against terminally ill workers and guarantee their rights and has more than 600,000 workers covered by the charter.

Chair of the Fire Authority Cllr Barry Curran said: “Our people are our Service, and their health and wellbeing is massively important to us. I’m really pleased we have signed this charter to set in stone our commitment to ensuring that any employee with a terminal illness has much needed security, stability and peace of mind.”

The campaign began in 2016 following a Cancer diagnosis received by sales manager Jacci Woodcock in Derbyshire who subsequently lost her job. The Charter recognises that work can be a welcome, therapeutic distraction and this pledge ensures the Service’s support for such employees to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families without undue financial loss.

Cllr Barry Curran added: “We hope through signing the charter to raise greater awareness of this initiative not only across our workforce but with partner agencies and local communities too.”

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

Beth Farhat Regional Secretary Northern TUC said: “Your job should be the least of your worries when you get a terminal diagnosis. I’m delighted that Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service have shown real leadership in this area, working with unions to guarantee fair treatment for terminally-ill workers.

“600,000 workers are now covered by the Dying to Work charter across the country, and we expect more employers to commit in the coming months.”

The charter states:

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.

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.

We will support our employees battling with a terminal illness to ensure they have adequate employment protection and have their death in service benefits protected for the loved ones they leave behind.