Birmingham City Council signs up to TUC’s Charter for helping terminally ill workers

Council joins growing number of employers signing up to campaign inspired by GMB union member's battle

Birmingham City Council yesterday (22 November) committed to a charter aimed at helping employees who become terminally ill at work.

It is the latest high-profile employer to sign up to the Dying to Work voluntary charter, following in the footsteps of companies such as E-On and Legal and General, as well as Sandwell Council.

The charter is part of the TUC’s wider Dying to Work campaign which is seeking greater security for terminally ill workers through a ‘protected period’ where they cannot be dismissed as a result of their condition.

Dying to Work was taken forward by the TUC following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 58-year-old member of GMB trade union from Derbyshire.

Jacci was forced out of her job as Sales Manager after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

Jacci Woodcock, GMB member said:

"It is fantastic that Birmingham City Council, the largest council in Europe has signed up to the Charter. I really hope other councils and companies will follow Birmingham's great leadership.

"I am delighted at their commitment to support and ensure the employees can make the right choices for them."

GMB has been asking employers across the country to sign up to the TUC’s voluntary charter to stop cases like Jacci’s happening in the future.

Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council said:

“As one of the city’s largest employers, we place a great deal of importance on every single member of staff and recognise the valuable contribution they make to the successful running of the council.

“No one living with a terminal illness should have to deal with the additional worry of losing their job as a result of their condition, so by signing the Dying to Work charter we are able to offer council employees the extra peace of mind that comes with knowing their job is protected.

"I call on other employers across the city to do the same.”

Joe Morgan, GMB Regional Secretary and Regional Chair of the TUC Midlands, said:

"The Dying to Work campaign is about giving working people battling a terminal condition both choice and security.

"Choice in deciding the best course of action for themselves and security knowing their job is protected and the future financial security of their family is guaranteed.

“The Dying to Work Charter puts these principles into action.

"Both GMB and the TUC welcome the signing of Birmingham City Council to the Charter and we hope this will inspire other employers in the region to work with us and implement this in more workplaces."

Lee Barron, TUC Regional Secretary, said: “Worrying about your job should be the least of your concerns when you receive a terminal diagnosis.

"We are therefore delighted that Birmingham City Council has signed up to the TUC’s Dying to Work Charter.

“Sheffield City Council also signed up yesterday, which means that more than 20,000 additional employees are now covered by the Charter.

"The total of employees covered across the UK is over 100,000.

"There is real momentum behind the campaign as we work to secure the dignity and protection that all terminally ill workers deserve.

“Over the coming months we expect more employers across the West Midlands to follow Birmingham City Council’s lead as we take the Dying to Work campaign into more workplaces.” ENDS

Contact: Stephanie Peacock at


The signing took place at 3pm in the Council House on Tuesday 22nd November.

Those attending included Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, Angela Probert, Strategic Director Change and Support Services Birmingham City Council, Dawn Hewins, Director Human Resources Birmingham City Council, Joe Morgan, GMB Regional Secretary, Gillian Ogilvie, GMB Organiser and Lee Barron, TUC Regional Secretary.

Other employers to sign up to the charter include: • E-On • Legal and General • Sandwell Council • Harrow Council • Leicester City Council • Mansfield District Council • Nottinghamshire County Council • Nottingham City Homes • Central College Nottingham • The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company • Carillion Rail • Southport & Ormskirk NHS Trust • Santander • AB Produce • Pellacraft

The TUC Dying to Work Voluntary Charter states the following: 1. We recognise that terminal illness requires support and understanding and not additional and avoidable stress and worry. 2. 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. 3. 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. 4. 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. - More information about the Dying to Work campaign can be found at

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