A day in the life of a steelworkers wife

This time last week we were happily celebrating Honor’s 4th birthday with the family. She’d had a great few days opening presents and eating cake! Little did we know the turn of events that would begin on Monday 28th September and the rollercoaster ride we were about to board.
Paul works(ed) shifts and he was off last week until Thursday. I went to work as normal on Monday. (I’m a full time teaching assistant in a local junior school). At lunchtime I received a text from Paul to say SSI was closing down. You will probably have seen SSI in the news, if, unlike me, you get the chance to watch it! We knew things weren’t great but Paul had an optimistic view and he believed that SSI would sort things out so that the steel plant could remain open – even if it did mean half pay for three months or so.
Paul has dedicated the last 14 years of his life to working on Teeside, the last four of them at SSI. He has committed to a seventy mile, or thereabouts, round trip every time he has journeyed to work. Yes the money has been good and the shifts have worked well for us with our young family but Paul has put the graft in and shown real commitment to the industry on Teeside. Anyway, getting back to the text message…….I rushed in to the TA office and rang Paul immediately. He had been watching Sky News at home when the report came through that SSI was to be mothballed. Suddenly all of Paul’s optimism was blown out the window. It dawned on us, there and then, he was one of the 1,700 men who would lose their jobs that week. The thought of Paul not working and the loss of money hit me and the tears sprung……what would we do? How will we cope? Questions came and went….there were no answers. The lads had very little understanding of what was happening other than what they were hearing in the news.
My colleague, Margaret, came in to the office and offered some comforting words and most importantly a nice cup of tea – how very English! In a daze, I had to go back in to class and carry on working, whilst my head was full of questions that I needed answering. (My head is still full of questions that need answering!).
I usually go to a Boogie Bounce class and then to choir practice straight from school on a Monday, but last Monday, 28th September, I just needed to get home to my family. So that is what I did. No matter how down I’m feeling my family can cheer me up. The girls aren’t aware of what is happening, they are too young.
We can’t live on my wage alone – where do we go from here? (Just one of the questions floating through my brain at this point). As the week progressed it became apparent that there would be no good news. Paul was going to be unemployed no matter which way we looked at it.

A day in the life of a steelworkers wife

2 thoughts on “A day in the life of a steelworkers wife

  1. shelagh says:

    Anna and Paul, we are sorry to hear of this setback you are going through. Best of luck, you deserve to find a new job soon , Paul.
    I’m really enjoying reading your blog and keeping up with you all. Congratulations for its success


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