A WORKER hanged himself after his job was changed by his Southampton bosses because he couldn’t speak English, an inquest heard.

Jan Wiwer, 57, was found dead at his dockyard workplace after Eco Sustainable Solutions gave him what he saw as a “step downwards”, Winchester Coroner’s Court was told.

The recycling firm, in King George V Graving Dock, said staff communication had to improve in the wake of a fire which towered over the docks in January.

The father-of-three, of Palmerston Road, Bournemouth, was discovered hanged in a secluded bay area by close friend Pawel Rabenda on March 2, two hours after the pair had driven to work that morning.

“Jan was his normal, happy self,” Mr Rabenda said in a statement read to the inquest.

“We were chatting about the weekend and I did not think anything was amiss.

"This is a total surprise to me. I have never heard Jan mention anything about killing himself. As far as I’m aware, he was happy.”

Mr Wiwer’s suicide note, translated from Polish and read to the inquest, made reference to the firm and said he “won’t be their slave”.

The 57-year-old moved to Britain in 2009 with his wife, Jadwiga, and sons Paul, Jerry and Tomasz. He kept his suicide plans from the family, detective constable Robert Cross told the inquest.

He said: “The move in employment was not a reduction in pay – in fact it was an increase in pay – but it was seen very much by Mr Wiwer as a step downwards in terms of his position.”

Senior central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict of suicide.