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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Violations of labour standards at Fukushima

December 5, 2012


'Labor violations rife' at Fukushima N-plant

Many of those who worked at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after it was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami may have been there under illegal labor conditions, a TEPCO survey revealed Monday.

Such conditions may have applied to nearly half of the employees of subcontractors to companies dealing with work at the plant after the crisis began.

According to the survey, 47.9 percent of such workers said the companies directing them at the plant were different from those that paid their wages. This could indicate disguised subcontracts in violation of the employment security law.

About 36 percent of such workers had not been given written or verbal explanations about their employment terms although the Labor Standards Law requires employers to issue documents setting out employment terms



December 4, 2012


Rampant illegal hiring practices suspected at Fukushima nuke plant



Nearly half of all subcontract workers at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant received work assignments from companies that were different from those that actually hired them, a revelation that could shed light on rampant illegal hiring practices, according to a survey conducted by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).

The results of the survey released on Dec. 3 show that nearly one-third of subcontract workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant did not receive any written documents on working conditions from their employers. "Deceptive work contracts" are banned under the Employment Security Act. At the same time, the Labor Standards Act requires employers to state working conditions clearly in writing. The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry instructed TEPCO verbally to improve hiring practices on Nov. 3.

The survey was conducted on 3,974 people working for companies that were hired by 27 prime contractors from Sept. 20 to Oct. 18, and 3,186 workers, or 80.2 percent of them, responded to the poll.

The survey asked 2,423 workers, excluding managers, whether they received work assignments at workplaces from the same companies as those from which they actually received their pay. Some 1,173 of them, or 48 percent, said "yes," while 1,160 of them, or 47.9 percent, said "no." The results suggest the possibility that nearly half of the subcontract workers were hired under "deceptive work contracts."

Asked about what they were forced or instructed by their employers to do, 158 workers said they had been told by their employers to "work on the spot as instructed by other companies." The survey shows 125 workers being instructed by their employers to "write down the name of a different company in documents to be submitted to prime contractors or TEPCO."

It also shows that 1,146 workers, or 36 percent of all respondents, did not receive any written documents on working conditions such as the nature of their work, workplaces and wages from their employers. Furthermore, 198 workers, or 6.2 percent, did not even receive verbal explanations from their employers.

On hourly wages, 71.8 percent of the workers received at least 837 yen, 2.8 percent of the workers received at least 658 yen but less than 837 yen, 1 percent received between 645 yen and 657 yen and 1.1 percent of them received less than 645 yen.

Masayuki Ono, a TEPCO official, said, "We realize that there are conditions that need to be improved."


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