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» {Reuters} Nuclear workers are still in the dark about how much extra they are getting paid

Almost a year after Japan pledged to double hazard pay at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, workers are still in the dark about how much extra they are getting paid — if anything — for cleaning up the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Under pressure to improve working conditions at the Fukushima plant after a series of radioactive water leaks last year, TEPCO promised in November to double the hazard pay the utility allocates to its subcontractors for plant workers. That would have increased the amount each worker is supposed to earn to about ¥19,000 ($180) a day in hazard pay.

Only one of the more than three dozen workers interviewed by Reuters from July through September said he received the full hazard pay increase promised by Tepco. Some workers said they got nothing. In cases where pay slips detailed a hazard allowance, the amounts ranged from $36 to about $90 a day — at best half of what TEPCO promised.

In some instances, workers said they were told they would be paid a hazard bonus based on how much radiation they absorb — an incentive to take additional risks at a dangerous work site.

One worker interviewed by Reuters said he was told he would get an additional $45 per day every time he was in so-called hot zones near Reactors 1 and 2. Another worker was told he would receive an hourly rate that worked out to about ¥485,000 ($4,500) extra in hazard pay for being exposed to the radiation limit for the nation’s nuclear workers over a five-year period. And a third worker said he was told the payout for that same exposure would be about ¥3.9 million ($36,000).

Assessing how much Fukushima workers are being paid is complicated by Tepco’s insistence that pay is a private matter for its contractors. The power utility, which runs Fukushima No. 1 and has been nationalized, sits at the top of a contracting pyramid that includes construction giants such as Taisei Corp. Tepco has declined to disclose details of any of its legal agreements with its subcontractors.

<Media Report>
Fukushima No. 1 plant workers kept in the dark over hazard pay (Japan Times)

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