On Monday 20th March, Jim Cunningham attended a cross-party reception in Parliament to support the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign which is seeking to change the law to provide additional employment protection for terminally ill workers.
Dying to Work was set up following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 58-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.
Labour MP for Coventry South, Jim Cunningham said: “It is shocking to think that if people with terminal illnesses are dismissed or forced out of their jobs that their loved ones will lose the death in service payments that the employee has planned for and earned through a life-time of hard work.” “That is why I am proud to support this campaign and I hope something will soon be done to ensure that individuals with terminal illness will receive the protection and support they deserve.”
Speakers at the event included Lee Barron Midland Regional Secretary of the TUC; Crossbench peer, Baroness Ilora Finlay, who chairs the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) and Dan Meredith, Head of Public Affairs for E.On who spoke about why E.On had been the first company to sign the TUC ‘Dying to Work’ voluntary charter to provide support to their employees and the campaign.
Since its launch in April 2016, The TUCs ‘Dying to Work’ Voluntary Charter now protects over 300,000 employees with companies such as Legal and General, Santander, Co-Op, Carillion and Serco joining E.On and signing up along with a number of public sector bodies including NHS trusts and many local authorities.
Jim Cunningham continued: “In addition to supporting the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign in Parliament, I will be encouraging businesses in my constituency to sign up to the TUC’s voluntary charter.”
The campaign has also been endorsed by a number of trade unions and charities, including The National Council for Palliative Care, Hospice UK, Breast Cancer Care and Second Hope.
TUC Deputy General Secretary Paul Nowak said: "Serious illness is tough enough without having to put up with extra hassle at work. Everyone can surely agree that terminally-ill workers deserve protection.
"That's why unions, MPs, employers and charities are coming together to ensure that workers get the support and protections they need when times are toughest."
This broad support was demonstrated in a recent Survation poll of over a thousand people which found that 79% of respondents support a ‘protected period’ for terminally ill workers where they could not be dismissed as a result of their condition with only 3% opposing it.