On Monday 20th March I attended a Parliamentary cross-party reception to support the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign. 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.
I completely agree with the TUC Deputy General Secretary Paul Nowak when he said serious illness is tough enough without having to put up with extra hassle at work. Not only does this lack of protection result in economic insecurity, but also experience discrimination and loss of dignity.
Alongside this, termination of employment for someone with a terminal illness will result in them losing the death in service payments that the employee has planned for, and earned through a life-time of work. We need to ensure that there are safety net measures in place to that these people and their families do not experience additional suffering.
It was great to see a coming together of MP’s, charities and businesses to help put in place the vital protection that terminally ill workers need in order to continue with their lives as normally as possible. Since its launch in April 2016, The TUCs ‘Dying to Work’ Voluntary Charter now protects over 300,000 employees, but there is still a long way to go.
Whilst the support for this cause was strong from all parties, Labour seemed to deem this matter most important, with 84% of labour voters approving of the proposal. This highlights the values of us as a party, and our will over the other parties to provoke positive change for the most vulnerable in our society.
As retirement ages are increasing we are likely to see an increase of people with terminal illnesses in the world of work, so need to act now. If you would like to get involved with the campaign, make sure to sign the petition here