Illegal Hiring Practices Uncovered at Fukushima Nuclear Plant

In a survey conducted by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), it has been discovered that nearly half of the subcontract workers at Fukushima No 1 Nuclear Power Plant have been hired illegally. They received work assignments from companies that are different from those that hired them.

The Employment Security Act clearly states that “deceptive work contracts” are illegal. The Labor Standards Act also requires employers to state working conditions clearly in the contracts. However, the results of the survey show that the subcontract workers did not receive any written documents from those who hired them. 3,974 people working for companies that were hired by 27 prime contractors from Sept. 20 to Oct. 18 were the target of the poll and 80.2% of them responded. Of the 2.423 workers who were asked whether they received work assignments from the same companies who hired them, 47.9% or 1,160 of them said no.

158 workers said that they were told by the original company that hired them to “work on the spot as instructed by other companies.” while 125 were explicitly told to write the name of a different company in documents submitted to contractors or TEPCO. What is more disturbing is that 36% of all respondents did not receive documents that state the working conditions they will be working in, including nature of the work and wages information. This fact is critical for people working in highly dangerous areas like nuclear power plants. As to what punishment these violations will receive, there is no word yet. Masayuki Ono, a TEPCO official just said that clearly, there are working conditions that need to be improved.

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