Port worker hits out at employment rules

FELIXSTOWE port chiefs were today criticised for the second time for their attitude to employees who need to change their jobs because of sickness or a personal crisis.

FELIXSTOWE port chiefs were today criticised for the second time for their attitude to employees who need to change their jobs because of sickness or a personal crisis.

Workers say the port's sickness policy is too stringent and feel more should be done to help people move to other work.

But officials say everything possible is being done to help employees whose situations change and the occupational welfare staff are working extremely hard to help.

Last week father-of-two Richard Peachey, 52, whose wife Christine, 48, died of cancer, told how he was being sacked because he could no longer work round-the-clock shifts because he did not want to leave his daughters Anna, 16, and Rachael, 14, alone at night.


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Mr Peachey, who is in breach of his contract, which will be terminated on January 13, was “deeply disappointed and disillusioned” after 19 years at the port and dismayed it had not been possible to find him another position in the company.

Now another worker has spoken of his disappointment at his contract being terminated after 29 years at the terminal.

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The man, who has asked not to be named, suffered back problems after a fall in an office at work and can no longer continue his work in the in-gates at the rail terminal.

“I just couldn't do the work any more because some of it involved checking and having to climb up onto trailers, which I cannot do with my back injury,” he said.

“It has been a frustrating time and I am disappointed there was no other job they could find me on the port because I would have loved to have stayed on working there.

“I felt as if I was being treated as just a number. In the end they said my contract would be terminated and I accepted £20,000 medical severance. I am 57 now and it will be very difficult to get another job.”

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

However, if a worker was not able to 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.

“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,” he added.

What do you think employers should do in these type of situations? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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