Fukushima Daiichi; Abusing Workers & Avoiding Liability

workerExamples of the continued abuse of workers hired to work at the nuclear disaster site continued in the last year. Disadvantaged workers were solicited at train stations. Those who took jobs frequently found themselves with no wages after hiring contractors extracted inflated expenses for food and housing. Some ended up in debt to their hiring contractor.

Reopened towns nearby like Hirono are mostly ghost towns except for the workers. Workers and labor representatives cite that this contractor system is helping TEPCO avoid liability for these workers. Many of the contractors that do the actual hiring at the bottom of a layer of sub contractors are frequently fly by night businesses that may evaporate or not have assets to cover injury or damages done to workers.

This ambiguity may leave workers with no recourse later on as they develop health problems and may even create issues for workers injured on the job if the bottom tier contractor is the sole source of liability. There is a health monitoring program available to workers who have exposures documented over a certain level. Since many exposures were not properly documented, many workers do not even qualify for this losing them another avenue of future support.

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Nancy Foust

Editor, SimplyInfo.org

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