Scottish Fire and Rescue Service sign TUC’s Dying to Work Charter and commit to employees

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has signed up to the Dying to Work Campaign which aims to help employees who become terminally ill at work.

The campaign is managed by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and employers are encouraged to sign up to a voluntary charter which makes a number of commitments to employees.

Signing the voluntary charter of the Dying to Work Campaign is an employer’s commitment to ensure that all employees who have a terminal illness have adequate employment protection and its aim is to provide financial security at a time when it is most needed.

The signatories on the charter include SFRS, Unison, Unite, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the Fire Officers Association (FOA), the Fire Leaders Association (FLA) and the Fire and Rescue Services Association (FRSA).

At SFRS head office in Cambuslang a joint signing ceremony was held on Monday, February 21 which was attended by the following:

  • Martin Blunden, Chief Officer, SFRS
  • Kirsty Darwent, Board Chair, SFRS
  • Liz Barnes, Director of People and Organisational Development, SFRS
  • Gillian Clark, Human Resources & Organisational Development Manager, SFRS
  • Pat Rafferty, STUC
  • Debbie Hutchings, Unite the Union
  • Ian Sim, Regional Secretary, FBU
  • David Crawford, Scottish Representative, FRSA
  • Andrew Hopkinson, National Secretary, FLA
  • Glyn Morgan, Strategic Advisor/Assistant Chief Executive, FOA



SFRS Chief Officer Martin Blunden, said:

“We support the TUC’s Dying to Work Campaign and in signing the Dying to Work Charter, we show our continued commitment to the welfare of the staff of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

“The health and wellbeing of our staff is a priority and when employees are faced with a serious or terminal illness, it is important that they are able to choose the path that is right for them and their families, without having the additional worry of financial uncertainty. We hope that the signing of this charter will provide reassurance to our employees that they have the support of their employer at a time when they need it the most.”

STUC President / Unite Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty, said:

“The STUC wholeheartedly supports the Dying to Work Charter and we warmly welcome the SFRS showing leadership by committing to it as well. It’s vital that organisations and employers support workers who become terminally ill. In these circumstances the worker and their families face huge emotional stress, anxiety, and possible financial worries. The Dying to Work Charter can help to alleviate some of these stresses and sets out a progressive way in which workers should be treated, and supported in the event of a terminal diagnosis.

“The Charter is about giving an individual options around how they want to proceed at work. In some cases, an individual will want to continue to work for as long as they can while in other cases a person may decide that they do not want to work anymore, and would rather spend their remaining time with family and friends. Therefore, we thank the SFRS for signing the Charter and allowing workers to exercise choice in the most difficult of circumstances.”

FBU Regional Secretary Ian Sim, said:

“The Fire and Rescue Service within Scotland has a proud history of treating terminally ill employees in a sympathetic and dignified manner, I am delighted that SFRS are now also making this public commitment by signing the Dying to Work Charter. The Charter provides staff members and their family with peace of mind, financial security and freedom of choice at a time when they are facing the most heart-breaking of circumstances.”

Scottish Representative for the FRSA, David Crawford said:

“The FRSA proudly supports the Dying to Work Charter which demonstrates a public commitment to treat terminally ill employees with the necessary support, while showing empathy and sensitivity in what is a very difficult time emotionally and financially for employees and their families. We would also wish to thank the SFRS and other stakeholders for signing the Charter, which emphasises the strength of feeling of just how important this matter is to all employees and how it could affect anyone within the organisation.”

National Secretary, Fire Leaders Association, Andrew Hopkinson said:

“It is great to see the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service continuing to demonstrate their wholehearted commitment to looking after their employees by publicly signing up to the Dying to Work Charter. In doing so, they are joining a growing number of organisations across the UK who have given their staff the comfort of knowing they and their families will be well supported by the Service and treated with the respect and dignity they deserve should they be diagnosed with a terminal illness.”

Glyn Morgan, Strategic Advisor, Fire Officers’ Association said:

“Adoption of the Dying to Work Charter is a very positive step for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Although it would be hoped that all employers would treat terminally ill employees and their families with compassion that may not always be the case. Signing the Charter is a very welcome commitment to support and assist people whilst alleviating worries about employment matters during very difficult times.”

Gillian Bannatyne, Regional Organiser Unison, said:

“It’s a sad truth that people of working age will contract terminal illnesses. If that happens they deserve support from their employer – either to continue working, or spend their remaining time with their loved ones. We are absolutely behind SFRS in making this commitment to those workers who find themselves in tragic circumstances, and we would urge other organisations to do the same.”

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