Reconstruction workers in the disaster-hit Miyagi Prefecture who have been subcontracted by construction companies are claiming that they are underpaid and overworked, among other abuses committed against them. Marking a 70% increase from 2011’s Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, over 240 complaints have been filed at the local labor bureau.
One man from Minamisanriku says that on top of the fact that he hasn’t been paid the right amount for his work, he contracted a long-lasting lung condition and was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. He must now sleep with a breathing aid because of his experience in reconstruction of the city of Kesennuma, a coastal area hit by the tsunami. “It’s a joke,” he says, referring to how laborers have not been treated right, working overtime most of the time, sometimes until 7:00 AM the next morning. He also says that he has not received any payment since November, with the last full amount being given in September.
The original subcontractor said that they have already paid the Iwate Prefecture subcontractor completely and had no knowledge that the work was subcontracted yet again. The Iwate subcontractor now claims that the man gave them false records, so “we only paid him for the work that the original subcontractor authorized.” This is just one example of the chaotic labor and reconstruction situation in the Tohoku region. There is a low supply of both building materials and laborers in the tsunami-hit areas, particularly in Miyagi Prefecture. This has caused the construction firms to prioritize contracts that are more profitable for them. It has also led to situations that go to the seventh and even eight level, which, ironically, also lessens their profit since it has to go through so many middle men.
[ via Mainichi ]
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