Grieving husband faces sack

A FATHER-of-two whose wife died of cancer today faces being sacked from his job at Felixstowe port - because he cannot work round-the-clock shifts.Portworker Richard Peachey, 52, was knocked for six by the loss of his wife Christine, 48, leaving him with two teenage daughters - Anna, 16, and Rachael, 14 - to care for and bring up on his own.

A FATHER-of-two whose wife died of cancer today faces being sacked from his job at Felixstowe port - because he cannot work round-the-clock shifts.

Portworker Richard Peachey, 52, was knocked for six by the loss of his wife Christine, 48, leaving him with two teenage daughters - Anna, 16, and Rachael, 14 - to care for and bring up on his own.

For the past year he has struggled to come to terms with his loss and his new role as a single-parent working 12-hour shifts day and night and suffered depression, fatigue and anxiety.

Managers at the Port of Felixstowe have allowed tug driver Mr Peachey to work day-time shifts, 40 hours a week, all this year but now they say if he cannot work with his colleagues as part of the 24-hour rota, he is in breach of his contract, which will be terminated on January 13.


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He says it has left him “deeply disappointed and disillusioned” after 19 years at the port and dismayed it has not been possible to find such a loyal employee another position in the company.

Paul Davey, port corporate affairs manager, said it was the port's policy not to discuss the individual circumstances of employees.

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However, if a worker was not able to do their job for whatever reason, medical or otherwise, every effort was made to help and try to find the employee an alternative job within the port.

He added: “We also provide any other assistance we are able to - counselling or whatever may be appropriate - to help them come to terms with whatever situation is preventing them doing their job.

But Mr Peachey of Woolner Close, Barhamn said: “I am really upset at the way the port has treated me - I have always been proud to work at the port and worked as hard as I could.

“I know that I am in breach of my contract and I accept the law, but I would have thought they could have found some way to redeploy me and use my skills. These are very exceptional circumstances and I am finding it extremely hard to cope at the moment. It seems people are no longer valued and I feel very let down.

“Since Christine's death I have suffered depression, fatigue and anxiety, and panic attacks.

“Now me and my daughters face a very uncertain future.”

Do you think the port should find Mr Peachey another job at the container terminal? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

PANEL

The family's nightmare began in early 2005 when Mrs Peachey was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

He said: “She put up a hell of a battle against it and as a family we tried to keep things as normal as possible and carry on our lives as usual until we no longer could.

“I had an absence/sickness record at work which was second to none and when Christine had hospital appointments I used up holiday or fitted them into my shift patterns.”

Since her death he has had periods off sick because of the stress. He says little help has been given to find him alternative work.

He added: “It's been a very difficult year, having to adapt to looking after the house and the girls. I cannot do nights at the moment because I don't think I am up to it and because I cannot leave my daughters alone at night - my mind would not be on the job and I would be worrying about them.”

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