Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Paying Just $11 a Day, Subcontractors Ripping Off Fukushima Nuclear Accident Decontamination Workers

The Tokyo Shimbun has discovered that workers involved with national government controlled cleanup projects resulting from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are being ripped off by subcontractors.

Despite being able to rent lodging facilities from the government and others for free or for very little money, contractors forcibly deduct inflated accommodation and meal charges from workers’ pay. When the 10,000 yen (US$111) a day “danger pay” provided to contractors by the government (read: taxpayers) is taken into consideration, it means the contractors themselves end up forking out a measly 1,000 yen (US$11) a day per worker.

Due to the risk of radiation exposure during decontamination work, the national government provides danger pay of 10,000 yen a day per worker. However, the allowance is paid to workers through operators contracted to undertake the cleanup work, resulting in a breeding ground of corruption due to the opacity of contractor wage payments.

In one case, workers carrying out hazardous decontamination work in Tamura City, Fukushima Prefecture, received 6,000 yen or so from the contractor each day, close to Fukushima’s minimum wage. The contractor then deducted between 4,500 yen and 4,750 yen for food and lodging, meaning the workers were only receiving a little over 11,000 yen per day after the government-funded 10,000 yen “danger pay”.