Rory Palmer MEP secures Eurostar support for terminally ill workers

Eurostar has pledged its support for the Dying to Work EU campaign. 1,600 employees at the high-speed rail operator, which runs services from London to Belgium, France and The Netherlands via the Channel Tunnel, are now assured of employment support should they be diagnosed with a terminal illness.

In becoming the first employer to sign up to the Dying to Work EU campaign pledge, Eurostar International has committed to provide terminally ill employees with security of work, peace of mind and the right to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families, thereby helping them through a challenging period with dignity and without undue loss.

Over half a million workers have already been protected by the pledge in the UK. Signatories can be found across many industry sectors including E.ON, Rolls Royce and Bombardier, and local authorities, such as Leicester City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. The campaign was instigated by the GMB trade union in the East Midlands, before being adopted by the TUC. Then, in February this year, East Midlands Labour MEP, Rory Palmer took the initiative a step further by launching a Europe-wide strand of the campaign in Brussels.

Eurostar Director of People, Gerard Jacques, said:
“We care at Eurostar and we have applied the Dying to Work principles on those sad occasions when colleagues have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It is crucial that we can provide comfort and support to the colleague and their families at a challenging time. We are delighted to contribute to Rory Palmer’s efforts to broaden the campaign, and happy to add our signature to the charter today”.

East Midlands MEP, Rory Palmer, said:
“The Dying to Work Campaign started in the East Midlands; but protecting workers diagnosed with a terminal illness is an important issue right across the continent. That’s why I’m working together with the European Cancer Patients Coalition and the European Trades’ Union Congress to bring the campaign to the attention of European employers. I am delighted that Eurostar have added their name to the charter.

“Ultimately my aim is to secure recognition for terminal illness as a ‘protected characteristic’ to prevent unfair discrimination. Labour MEPs have worked for many years to help shape and secure important social and employment rights. The Brexit clock may be ticking, but I’m not sitting on my hands. I’m determined to use my time in the European Parliament to make a positive difference for those who need help most.”

Rory met the Eurostar HR team at London’s St Pancras International on Monday 22 October, before heading to the European Parliament at the start of a week that is likely to see more twists and turns in the Brexit negotiations.