South Yorkshire fire service signs terminal illness staff pledge


South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has signed up to a charter pledging to support employees with terminal illnesses.

After agreeing to sign-up to the TUC’s Dying to Work campaign in October, the fire service officially made the pledge this week.

The campaign is aimed at getting organisations to commit to support their employees should they be diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden, said. “We want to make South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue a great place to work, and part of that is about prioritising the wellbeing of our people. That’s why we believe it is essential that we give each person facing a terminal diagnosis the freedom to decide what is best for them based upon their own, individual situation. I am proud to have signed the Dying to Work Charter to publicly display our commitment to this.”

Neil Carbutt, Fire Brigades Union brigade secretary, said: “Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is something that most of us don’t want to even contemplate. Any one of us could be diagnosed with a terminal illness at any point. South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service has signed this Charter, which is extremely reassuring for us as its employees. The Fire Brigades Union totally support this positive and humanitarian move which will provide individuals and our members the dignity and security they deserve. I would urge all other fire and rescue services to follow suit.”

The Dying to Work campaign would like to see terminal illness recognised as a ‘protected characteristic’ so that an employee with a terminal illness would enjoy a ‘protected period’ where they could not be dismissed as a result of their condition.

More than half a million people in the UK are already covered by the pledge, with big employers like Royal Mail, E-on and Santander amongst those to have signed up nationally.

The pledge was signed by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in conjunction with the Fire Brigades Union, but will apply to all members of fire service staff regardless of their union affiliation.