A major high street bank has become the latest organisation to support an employment rights campaign led by a terminally ill Milford woman.
Lloyds Banking Group has added its name to the Dying to Work charter, which aims to helping workers living with terminal diagnoses to settle their careers in a time and manner of their own choosing.
Director Rebecca Priestley said: “At Lloyds Banking Group we have been working hard to provide specialist advice and support for colleagues living with a terminal illness.
“Reflecting this important support, we have agreed to become a signatory of the charter, which underscores our commitment to be there for colleagues through challenging times, when they need us most.”
The Dying to Work was taken forward by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) following the case of Milford resident Jacci Woodcook, 60, who was forced out of her sales management job with a textile design company after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.
Last month, Jacci issued a final call to action after deciding to stop medical treatment, and said she would be spending her last months of life pushing even more employers to support the campaign.
She said: “If I had been supported properly, I probably would still be working until now. Not everyone with a terminal diagnosis leaves work. Some work until they die. I never had a day off whilst at work. It’s incredibly important to be the person you are.
“I’ve worked too hard at this campaign and I don’t want anyone else to go through so much stress that I had to go through.”
She added: “When I was told I was terminally ill, I carried on working – it never entered my head not to carry on working – and then work started to put pressure on me to resign.
“So I got my trade union GMB involved situation and also asked my MP Pauline Latham for her help with the campaign. We’re all doing our bit and working together and it’s going very successfully.”
In signing the charter, Lloyds joins major employers such as Rolls-Royce, Severn Trent Water, Royal Mail and E.ON, NHS trusts, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Services and Derbyshire County Council, extending additional workplace protections to more than 500,000 people nationwide.
TUC deputy general secretary Pail Nowak said: “Your job should be the least of your worries when you get a terminal diagnosis. I’m delighted that Lloyds Banking Group have shown real leadership in this area, working with unions to guarantee fair treatment for terminally-ill workers.
“Dying to Work is a real success and we expect more employers to follow Lloyds and sign up in the coming months.”
Lloyds were invited to sign the charter by financial services union Accord.
Accord general secretary Ged Nichols said: “We’re very pleased that Lloyds Banking Group agreed to join us in signing this significant charter.
“My colleague, Paula Tegg, deserves all the credit for campaigning and persevering to get us to this point. The charter is an important part of Accord’s wider dignity at work agenda.”
Jacci is now being supported by Treetops Hospice Care, which also signed up to the charter earlier this year.
She said: “My message to businesses reading this is to tell me why you’re not signing up? By not signing, you’re sending a message that you don’t value your workers.
“And for employees reading this – maybe tomorrow this could happen to you and wouldn’t you want to know that the law, and your employer, are looking after you?”
To learn more about the campaign and how to get your workplace involved, visit www.dyingtowork.co.uk.