Derby City Council has affirmed its commitment to employees diagnosed with a terminal illness, by signing the TUC’s Dying to Work Charter.

CEO Carole Mills, and Councillors Chris Poulter and Mick Barker were joined today by Trade Union representatives, senior Council officers, MP Pauline Latham, and Dying to Work campaign patron, Jacci Woodcock, at a signing ceremony at the Council House.

The Charter is part of the TUC’s wider ‘Dying to Work’ movement, which is campaigning for increased security for terminally ill workers.

By adopting the Dying to Work Charter and supporting the Dying to Work campaign, the Council  is taking steps as a major employer in Derby to help ensure that terminally ill employees’ rights are guaranteed.

The Dying to Work campaign is being spearheaded by Jacci Woodcock, from Belper, who is fighting for a change in the law to protect employees, while she battles her own terminal illness. Jacci started her campaigning after she was forced out of her job by her employer when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham attended the Council’s signing. She is an advocate for all that the Charter stands for, and is fighting alongside Jacci for a change in the law to protect employees with a terminal diagnosis.

Derby City Council joins many other employers who have signed the Charter, including neighbouring local authorities, universities, fire and police services, utility companies, banks and more.

Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council said:

“The last thing any colleague should be worrying about if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness, is to experience any work related pressure.

“By signing this Charter today, we aim to build on our existing policies for employees, and affirm our support and commitment to our people at an extremely challenging time.”

Carole Mills, Chief Executive of Derby City Council added:

“Signing the Dying to Work Charter is us reciprocating the commitment that our employees show here at the Council every day; working with Derby people and communities is at the heart of what we do.  In doing this we’re also taking care of our people and our community.

“We want our colleagues to know that we will be there for them as much as we can be, offer them the flexibility to choose what works for them and their families and be confident of our help and support.”

The Charter was signed by Carole Mills, Council Chief Executive; Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of the Council; Councillor Mick Barker, Cabinet Member for Governance and Licensing; Don McLure, Director of Corporate Resources; Pauline Latham, OBE MP; Jacci Woodcock, patron of the Dying to Work campaign; Denise Tinley on behalf of GMB; Nicole Berrisford and Paul Berrisford on behalf of UNISON; Nathan Rennocks on behalf of Unite; and Martin Allen on behalf of TUC.

Campaign founder Jacci Woodcock commented on the number of people who may find themselves in this position, and urged people to ask their employers to sign up to the Charter to make sure that when the time comes, they have one less thing to worry about:

“There isn’t anyone alive who doesn’t know someone living with a terminal illness; one in two people will get cancer, and that’s not the only terminal illness out there.

“What people don’t know, is that when it comes to work and terminal illness, the law does not cover them. But why would they know that, unless they were going through it?

“Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous organisations out there, who are not doing what they should be, to cover their employees in the case of terminal illness, and that’s not good enough.

“The fact is that the majority of people living with a terminal illness would like to stay in employment, to give them financial stability, a sense of normality. Of stimulation. Of dignity.

“I applaud Derby City Council for signing this Charter. I wish someone had done this for me.”

Martin Allen, GMB Midland and East Coast Secretary signed the Charter on behalf of the TUC, he said:

“I welcome Derby City Council following other major employers in Derby; Rolls-Royce, Bombardier and E-ON in signing the Dying to Work Charter.

“Close to one million employees in the UK are now covered by TUC voluntary Charter, and in its 150th year is a testament to its significance in the 21st century.

“Derby City Council has demonstrated its commitment to its employees and we acknowledge and applaud this statement.”

Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham added:

“I’m delighted that Derby City Council has agreed to sign up to the Dying to Work Charter. They join a growing number of major organisations in the Midlands and across the UK that have cemented their support for employees whilst they are suffering from a terminal illness.

This is obviously a very difficult time and it is important that people receive the necessary and appropriate support from their place of work.”


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