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Dying to work

Ryan Fletcher, Friday, January 25th, 2019

A major private sector employer along with a city council will sign a Unite agreement to give maximum support to workers with a terminal illness next week.


Bristol City Council and Das UK Group will sign the TUC’s Dying to Work charter on Tuesday (29 January).


Unite will sign the charter along with the Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees and Andrew Burke, CEO of DAS the UK’s leading legal expenses insurer, which has its head office in Bristol.  


Bristol City Council employs a workforce of more than 6,000. DAS employs a workforce of more than 700.


The charter consists of five obligations, including implementing a policy that any person with a terminal diagnosis will not be dismissedbecause of their condition, an assistance programme for those with a terminal illness and training for line managers and HR staff on the issue.


Unite regional coordinating officer Donna Williams said, “What makes this unique is that two separate organisations, public and private – the city council and DAS – are both signing up at the same time to this important charter.  


Positive message

“We welcome the signing of the Dying to Work charter with Bristol City Council, where we have members, as well as by DAS, which sends out a positive message to other employers in the city.


Williams said agreeing to the five point charter shows a strong commitment by the public and private sector organisations to support employees who are managing a terminal illness, but still have a valid contribution to make in the workplace.

She added, “This is a much better alternative to seeking to dismiss them via the capability route at a time that they and their families will be struggling greatly on both emotional and financial levels.”


Unite’s national health and safety adviser Rob Miguel praised DAS and Bristol council for signing up to the charter and encouraged other employers to do the same.


He said, “Many people get seriously ill in their working lives andfortunately for union members there are options available to remain in work or return to it after a period of recovery. Tragically, others are diagnosed with terminal conditions where extra help may be needed.


“The TUC’s Dying to Work charter, supported by Unite, aims to help those workers by providing assistance at work so that the fear, stress and worry caused by such terrible news is not added to. It’s something that all employers should be signing up to.”

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