Managers at Tokyo Electric Power Co. will receive a one-time payment of 100,000 yen ($997) each, in a bid to boost morale and keep them from abandoning the embattled utility and operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Naomi Hirose, the corporate president, formally announced the plan during a news conference July 19, where he tried to allay possible complaints about the payment amid the protracted efforts to keep the situation at the crippled nuclear plant under control.
"The cleanup work, the decommissioning processes for the nuclear reactors, the making of damage payments, these all take workers and personnel to accomplish," Hirose said. "We have decided on the payment, despite its extremely unusual nature, to boost spirits and motivate the managers to do their jobs."
The lump-sum payment is scheduled to be made July 22. Only section chiefs and managers higher up are eligible for the payments because quite a number of them are currently being compensated less than the rank-and-file.
That’s because the annual wages received by managers have fallen by as much as 30 percent since the onset of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. Non-managerial employees have had their salaries cut by 20 percent. However, they are entitled to overtime pay, TEPCO officials said.
About 5,000 individuals are eligible for the one-time payments, which will cost TEPCO 500 million yen ($4.9 million). The payment has been made possible due to the 500 billion yen in cost cuts achieved in fiscal 2012, which was 150 billion yen more than TEPCO had initially envisioned, officials added.
Customers are also bearing part of the burden due to electricity rate hikes by TEPCO.
From the onset of the nuclear crisis and until the end of June 2013, a total of 1,286 employees left TEPCO of their own volition. Fifty-one of those were section chiefs or higher, with many playing central roles in the Corporate Planning Department, which is responsible for mapping out the utility's post-crisis business recovery efforts, and the departments in charge of damage payments.
Blocking the brain-drain of core personnel has emerged as a major management challenge for TEPCO.
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