UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The courage and tenacity of the emergency workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant

The heroism of workers at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been honoured by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC): http://www.psac-afpc.org/news/2011/messages/20110502-e.shtml

PSAC points out that 'nearly 90% of the over 10,000 workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are temporary employees, contracted out by companies who are themselves contracted by others. This chain of devolving responsibility is the product of the deregulation of the electrical industry in 2000 brought in to facilitate the privatization of the industry.

By 2005, 63% of Japan's energy industry was privatized, creating a system that rewarded cost cutting, contracting out, and weakening of safety regulations. Privatization also meant reduced oversight and the creation of a two-tier workforce of labourers.

The majority of these workers receive lower wages and benefits and no job security, while they face ever growing dangers associated with ageing nuclear plant facilities in the country.

In the best of times, these temporary workers face over 16% more exposure to radiation than that faced by the regular employees of the Tokyo Electric Company. It is thanks to their efforts, that Japan was able to avoid an even greater nuclear catastrophe, following the tsunami.'