‘dying To Work’ Charter

‘dying To Work’ Charter

Friday 24th May 2019

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are proud to support the Dying to Work Campaign by signing the Trade Unions Congress charter.  The campaign is calling for terminal illness to be made a ‘protected characteristic’ so that all employees battling terminal illness would enter a protected period within which they could not be dismissed as a result of their condition.

The charter sets out an agreed way in which all employees will be supported, protected and guided throughout their employment, following a terminal diagnosis:

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

On October 11th, representatives from the seven organisations involved; Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway QFSM,  South Wales Fire and Rescue Service; Alex Psaila, Fire Brigade Union; Kay Parsons, Unison; Derek Wood, GMB Union; Lesley Davies, Unite; Dave King, Fire and Rescue Services Association and Richard Prendergast, Prospect Union came together at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters to sign the charter supporting the Dying to Work campaign.

A Growing Issue:

  • As retirement ages are increasing and Cancer Research UK are projecting 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer, more people will be receiving terminal diagnosis during their working lives.
  • Currently 1 in 10 new cancer cases are found in people under 50 (Over 33k cases a year)
  • An internal McMillan Survey Showed that 37% of cancer patients ‘experienced discrimination’ on their return to work.

Working in the emergency services is a very challenging and demanding vocation and it is important that we all look after each other. Being told that you are to die as a result of a disease for which there is no cure or effective treatment and that you only have months, or a years to live is a traumatic event and everyone will react differently.  The nature of the illness may mean the person is unable to work again. In other cases, a person may decide that they do not want to work anymore. However, a lot of workers with a terminal diagnosis do decide that they want to continue working as long as they can, either because they need the financial security or because they find that their work can have a positive impact on them. Whichever choice a person makes, we will support them as their employer.  Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway QFSM, commented:

“At South Wales Fire and Rescue Service we have a very close team culture of helping and supporting each other; signing the TUC Dying to Work Charter with our representative bodies today is a clear demonstration that we will always care for our people and we are there to support them in difficult times.”

As a Service, we have many different support networks and supporting this campaign is a welcome addition to these.  To find out more visit: https://www.dyingtowork.co.uk.