Workers have taken the unusual step of suing TEPCO for unpaid wages, even though the four workers are employed by TEPCO contractors.
The issue surrounds danger pay that is supposed to be issued to all workers at the plant including contract workers. For these four workers, their contractors have been skimming off the extra pay rather than giving it to the workers. TEPCO provides these additional funds. The suit is around the issue that TEPCO has done nothing to assure that additional pay actually makes it to the workers, leaving contractors to pocket the cash. $600,000 in unpaid wages for the four workers are being sought.
This mention about the suit is even more important:
“The lawsuit also asks that the 6,000 workers at the nuclear clean-up project either be made effectively government employees, be put on the Tepco payroll directly or be fairly paid.”
The contractor system and the poor labor conditions for workers at the plant has contributed to the ongoing lack of qualified workers. Most work without and guarantees, safety net or future compensation system related to their work. The lawyer for the case said this about conditions at the plant.
“A year ago, Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe told the world that Fukushima was under control,” Hirota said in an interview. “But that’s not the case. Workers are not getting promised hazard pay and skilled workers are leaving. It’s becoming a place for amateurs only, and that has to worry anyone who lives near the plant.”
Additional plaintiffs can be added to the case as it goes, so more workers may join in.
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