Workers At Fukushima Daiichi Being Forced To Pay To Eat

We have multiple confirmations that both TEPCO workers and contractors working at the Fukushima Daiichi disaster are now being made to pay for their food. 

The plant came under fire by the media and the public for the bad working conditions at the plant. Workers were sleeping on floors, eating just crackers and water, had no showers and no doctor on site. After the death of a worker and a spotlight on the poor working conditions the labor ministry finally showed up. After this TEPCO did a PR push and made some visible changes to improve worker conditions. They brought in beds, a doctor, expanded the type and quality of food, built cooling shelters and gave (at least some) workers cooling vests.

With the spotlight off worker conditions TEPCO turns right around and goes back to the same disregard for the people risking their lives to solve this disaster. Again, a major disconnect between the executives of TEPCO making decisions and the technical workers actually solving the problem.

The logistics are difficult already. Workers are there for days at a time. They are not being paid the astronomical salaries one might think for someone risking their life in a dangerous situation. It isn’t as if they can easily go obtain food elsewhere.

With this surprise demand that workers now pay for their meals some were not eating. This is compounding the struggles with the heat if they are not eating. Sunday the local temperature at Fukushima was 92F with a high humidity and 6 workers went down with heat stroke.

It took a public outcry and media shaming of TEPCO executives to get them to improve working conditions. It will likely take another public shaming to get them to make sure their workers have food without having their paychecks bear the burden.

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Nancy Foust

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