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Fukushima nuclear plant workers rally against TEPCO

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He said he was laid off after several months in the job due to heavy radiation exposure.

Just more collateral damage of Japan Inc. But when corporate management has no real value system other than not making waves, it is about what you expect. And the fact that the J-government is turning a blind eye towards what they know could probably be classified as "human rights offenses" is equally as disgusting. Wonder what euphemism, like "comfort women" they'll come up with to describe these victims of corporate greed as?

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Yeah, but, it's not so much TEPCO's fault in this case. It's the scamming recruiting agencies with Yak ties that are screwing the workers out of their salaries. But, I guess they have to protest somewhere. I can't see them protesting at the head of office of Yamaguchi Gumi, can you?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Working for TEPCO was once considered to be one of the best jobs in the country but following the nuclear disaster it became the most hated company and the regular workers of TEPCO whether stationed at the nuclear site or elsewhere have to hide their employment details from their neighbours and others.

Over the past couple of years there has been a mass exit from the company, especially the young nuclear engineers who are just not prepared to accept the crap they get for working for TEPCO.

All the workers at the nuclear disaster site are working in extreme conditions, very cold in winter, very hot in summer. Various levels of radiation exposure.

Since the beginning of the nuclear disaster more than 30,000 temporary workers have been employed at the site with many quickly reaching the radiation exposures limited by law. In any single day, the site needs 3,000 to 5,000 workers.

According to TEPCO statistics, there were a total of 32,034 workers at the Fukushima No. 1 plant between the March 2011 nuclear accident and January 2014. Of that number, 1,751 workers were exposed to a combined total in excess of 50 millisieverts. Of that number, 173 workers were exposed to more than 100 millisieverts.

TEPCO wants to form a separate company to deal with the nuclear disaster so that over time it disassociate itself from the blame of causing it in the first place.

The gov't needs to go further by selling off TEPCO, lock, stock and barrel and returning the money to the public coffers. It can be sold off to an existing or new power utility.

A new gov't agency should be formed to deal with the nuclear disaster which will take many decades and well into the next century before its resolved. All workers at the nuclear disaster site should be employed directly cutting out the contractor and several layers of sub contractors which is currently being used.

The workers should receive higher than normal pay, free health care, radiation monitoring and free or low rented accommodation.

The same new agency can also be responsible for the decontamination work and building a nuclear waste storage inside the exclusion zone. When workers reach their radiation exposure limit they can be moved to decontamination or construction work.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

They are not "forced" to work for tepco on cheap pay and in poor conditions, they choose to work there, they can leave, walk away, throw in the towel, quit, don't turn up. They have many ways to stop working for tepco, it is all choice.

-18 ( +6 / -24 )

TEPCO is supposed to provide Safety Suits & Training the contractors should provide Fair Wages.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good luck to them. Hopefully they will get better working condition and higher wages. I would join them if I lived closer.

@StormR

"They have many ways to stop working for tepco"

We can say the same thing about anybody in almost any country (except maybe North Korea). There are unions and labor laws even in the US where employees come and go all the time. We need them even more in Japan where employees stay longer with the same employers. I respect them for fighting for their rights rather than relying on welfare or unemployment benefit.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@StormR

They are not "forced" to work for tepco on cheap pay and in poor conditions, they choose to work there, they can leave, walk away, throw in the towel, quit, don't turn up. They have many ways to stop working for tepco, it is all choice.

Many labor laws and standards are being violated.

There are many articles on the workers at the nuclear disaster site but here's one to help you have a better understanding of what is happening. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/japan-homeless-recruited-clean-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-zone-special-report-article-1.1561307

16 ( +16 / -0 )

@StormR

They are not "forced" to work for tepco

Well obviously YOU are NOT "forced" to work for TEPCO because you probably already have a "good" job... I, on the other hand, am still looking for work and if I were a man, I would probably apply to work there - maybe I should ask if they also accept women ?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

maybe I should ask if they also accept women ?

Prior to the nuclear disaster there were female nuclear engineers but since then they are banned from the site because of the dangers of radiation exposure on reproduction?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Ah, since when has the Japanese government recognized human rights violations? They should have stepped in long ago, and even recently when it came to light that TEPCO didn't know whom it was subcontracting to (and whom they were subcontracting to!), but instead the government offered more support and bailout money.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

They'll run out of workers in a few years.....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@zichi

because of the dangers of radiation exposure on reproduction?

No problem there... I've "passed" that stage in my life, with two grown up sons....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They are not "forced" to work for tepco on cheap pay and in poor conditions

Like having a man risk his life to save your sorry drowning behind and you refuse to even say "Thank you". I dare say many of them have been coerced by their own conscience to pitch in.

And while this protest is a great start, I suggest they started raiding the homes of the execs for compensation.

It's the scamming recruiting agencies with Yak ties that are screwing the workers out of their salaries.

TEPCO is totally in collusion with that and knows exactly what is going on. They are equally responsible and are totally in a position to correct the problem. With the RECORD PROFITS they have made despite the ongoing nuclear disaster, they could set up their own recruitment agencies or even just hire clean ones. And they sure as heck could give these heroes special bonuses.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

They Exploit People Constantly, OK?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

And still Japan's government does nothing due to the massive pay-offs from TEPCO in to their pockets.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The corporate cleanup.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@FightingVikingMAR. 15, 2014 - 09:57AM JST

zichi-because of the dangers of radiation exposure on reproduction? No problem there... I've "passed" that stage in my life, with two grown up sons....

Well just a point. At the beginning of the nuclear disaster, all the female workers were spent home and not allowed back since then. I don't know if they are into employing a granny worker?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I hope they kick some ass!

But they are also kinda naive to trust TEPCO in the first place. I would never do such a job, for no money in the world; its obviously suicide to work in such a radiated environment.

Also I am surprised that the public does not argue on soon restarting the HAMAOKA reactors , which sit in the center of the expected M8 Tokai quake.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This should be the highest paid and highest priority engineering project in Japan, but it's become one of the lowest paid and corrupt contracts in Japanese history. However, if you look at the history of the construction industry in Japan it is pretty well on par with all the other construction scandals. Remember all those apartment blocks that were built with substandard reinforcing to lower costs? How about all the 'brown paper bag' deals that were done between government agencies and construction companies to obtain contracts? Then, you can add all the intimidation and protection rackets run by the Yaks and all of a sudden this crap that is going in in Fukushima seems quite the norm for the construction industry in Japan.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

@zichi Great posts. Talking about the recruitment of nuclear engineers, a friend of mine at TIT reckons the quality of the students he sees in his classes is declining. Nuclear engineering and working in the power industry used to attract some very smart kids. On the other hand, after the Fukushima accident he reckons about half the kids starting at TIT chose the course because they want to involved in clearing up this mess.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@HongoTAFEinmate

The top courses at the universities were all related to nuclear engineering with lifetime well paid employment but they are now in decline and I think some are dropping them from the lack of interest. In future many will go overseas to work instead.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The idea that 'they can go find another job' to mean that therefore they do not deserve protection on the job is social irresponsibility, and anyone who thinks that should be ashamed of themselves. No one wants to work with radiation, but many people don't have a lot of options in life. These guys should be afforded basic safety levels while working.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The use of multiple layers of sub-contractors for providing staff to repair and clean nuclear power plants has been going on for decades. The utilities must know of it, they condone it, but as they are not direct hires they have plausible deniability, so that they do not need to pay compensation to exposed workers.

The British TV documentary "Nuclear Ginza" (1995), directed by Nicholas Rohl, was about the Japanese nuclear industry, coercion of the homeless and disenfranchised, the recruitment methods and the risks it poses to its workers and population (the nuclear gypsies), much of it based on the work of Kenji Higuchi, the renowned photographer, who since the 1970s has documented cases of radiation exposure and sickness during maintenance periods, development of cancers, and the layers of subcontractors and percentages of wages deducted. Due to lack of documentation, lack of genuine exposure records, no compensation has officially been paid or awarded through the court systems, though cash has been offered to individuals in return for silence.

This is the unspoken, unrecognised price that Japan has paid for 'cheap' nuclear power.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

80,000 out of a nuclear industry work force of about 100,000 are the nuclear gypsies or day labourers which saved the power utilities billions in wages and benefit payments over the past four decades.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@zichi Don't know if the courses are in fundamental decline or not. There is certainly an adjustment taking place. As I commented earlier, TIT and Hongo TAFE have seen a slight slip in student scores on entry, but the quality of the teaching has changed. Moreover, I know that rather than employment with the power companies, there is increased interest among some students in an academic career or in the applied sciences (medical application of atomic isotopes, etc.).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So there are laws being broken and these guys complain about working there, well the way I see it if they didn't work there then the laws would not be be being broken and these guys would not be complaining,

Then maybe tepco would have to comply with the laws to get workers.

Sheeesh some of you lot really do not see the logic.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

They also said many had not received a 10,000 yen daily premium for decontamination work.

TEPCO 'apologised' last week to all of their subcontractors for creating 'confusion' and 'misunderstanding' with their announcement that there would be a 10,000 yen daily premium for decontamination work. They were not required to give all of this to the workers. This money was not only for workers, but for the layers of subcontractors, who would all take a percentage of, leaving an estimated 800~1,000 yen to go into the workers pockets.

They of course did not apologise to those workers expecting to see their pay doubled.

Another regrettable misunderstanding and apology...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Workers at the Fukushima plant have been forced to do unreasonable tasks with no decent safety measures,” said one man in his 30s, who declined to give his name.< I do not understand that statement, how were they "forced" to work? Why could they not walk off especially, after seeing that the condiditons were unsafe and the pay was sub-standard.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

We've known this for how long?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So there are laws being broken and these guys complain about working there, well the way I see it if they didn't work there then the laws would not be be being broken and these guys would not be complaining,

Then maybe tepco would have to comply with the laws to get workers.

Sheeesh some of you lot really do not see the logic.

The people doing the work aren't the type that can just quit and go find some other job somewhere. When the choice is between eating/feeding your family, or standing up for your morals, people will choose to eat. That's basic Maslow's hierarchy of needs. If anyone is not seeing the logic it's you - you are applying your own circumstances to people who are not in your circumstance.

This is why it's necessary to protect these people, because they don't have the luxury of being able to make the moral stand against it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So tepco are the only company in japan offering work ? , right , ok now I see it - NOT.

Plenty of other companies offering work, if you choose to take a job at tepco who pay crap wages and have un safe conditions you want to blame some one else for your bad choice , ok, makes perfect sense in this day and age where no one can take responsibility for themselves.

Who's fault is it these guys are unskilled and can only get low paying jobs ? And is tepco the only job they can get ?

Doubt that all very much.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Glad these guys are standing up for themselves - better late than never, but it actually may be too late.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@zichi

I don't know if they are into employing a granny worker?

I did thumb you up - quite in spite of not liking very much that you make me feel older than my age ? I still have to work quite in spite of no longer being in my 20's, 30's or even 40's ! And believe me I actually enjoy working - just can't find anyone who needs my services, which makes the "end of the month" rather bleak, the "beginning" of the month not being much better !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

FightingViking

oh! sorry, there was no intention at rudeness, just my Liverpool sense of humour but anyway yes, you should continue to work and enjoy it until you are ready to stop. But having worked in the heavy chemical industry, on building sites and even on sites where highly dangerous substances were being removed and power plants I think working at the nuclear disaster site is very hard and and very difficult and even though women would be capable, I think in the long run it was the correct decision to use males only but heck if a young guy was exposed to high radiation levels what might happen to his reproduction rights. On the day of the disaster, the plant manager who died last year, also sent home all the young men. I hope I'm forgiven?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@zichi

Of course you are forgiven ! I've noticed that - so far - I have never been able to "disagree" with you ! I was just "teasing" you ! Had I eligible to receive any "nenkin" I might have tried to just "take it easy" but, having worked for different Embassies in Tokyo, I didn't know about "kokumin-nenkin" so I have NOTHING !

3 ( +3 / -0 )

FightingViking,

thank you so much, I was worried about sleeping tonight? I understand your problems about nankin and kokumin nankin, and in my case coming to live in Japan at a late age and being a self employed artist leaves me out in the pension dessert somewhat but I did make some kind of payments and now we are both 60+ we receive a small monthly pension but not enough to cover basic costs so we still do enough to bring in the extra needed but probably I'll have to work until the day I die?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yes, hey, Zichi-san. You are not alone in the "work till I die" situation. I take comfort in the knowledge that this has been the case for many centuries. The tribal way of life has been long transplanted by what ultimately became the economic, profit-driven way of "life". I wonder if we are going to brutally return to that more congenial way of life. Feeling philosophical tonight.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Japanese govt should ensure that anyone who works at the Fukushima plant is rewarded far beyond labor law standard pay, has the best medical care, and good living conditions.

If Tepco doesn't provide that, they should be forced to. Pretty straightforward to me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This might be a stupid question cause I know absolutely nothing about the science, but. Could Tepco and co be paying low etcetc because they would prefer to not "clean it up", but rather do something entirely different, like " just waste it" ??? And then spend earnings on new technology and science for safer energy. Or is that too vulnerable?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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