The Charter will formally endorse Council’s commitment to employment protections for terminally ill employees, and will call for employers throughout the city and district to sign up to the “Dying to Work” Charter.
The motion in support of the campaign and charter, moved by Mary Durkan, Councillor for Foyleside, was passed unanimously by Council last week.
Said Miss Durkan: “The reality is that people of all walks of life and all ages will experience terminal illness.
“Many of those diagnosed will want to continue in their employment and many will simply need to keep working to ensure financial security for their family.
“The emotional, physical and mental stress inherent in suffering a terminal illness should not be exacerbated by the fear of financial uncertainty and employment insecurity.”
“There are currently gaps in legislation. Under current employment law, for example, a terminally ill employee could potentially be fairly dismissed if they are deemed not fit to work or if they do not want to attend work.
“That could ultimately deprive them of death in service benefits, causing further pain to their loved ones.
“In recent years, following trade union- led campaigning on this issue many employers and organisations across England, Scotland and Wales have voluntarily signed up to the Charter to give their employees guarantees in relation to guidance, support and protection of death in service benefits.”
Miss Durkan added: “I am delighted that Council is sending out a strong message to employers of all sectors.
“It was particularly fitting that this motion was passed during our first Workers’ Rights and Social Justice Week and on the eve of May Day.
“During the pandemic we have seen the importance of properly valuing workers across the board, standing up for their rights.”
The councillor also paid tribute to the many organisations and charities offering support to the terminally ill and families in Derry and Strabane.
She concluded: “The launching of the Dying to Work charter represents an excellent opportunity for Council to engage with groups like Pink Ladies, Paul’s Campaign, Cancer Research, MacMillan and others who are a vital source of support for people with cancer and other illnesses.
“It is also indicative of a partnership approach between our Council and the trade union movement.”