Roughly 8AM on 3th of February couple of activists from the anti-nuclear protest camp in Pyhäjoki decided to visit the construction site of the planned nuclear power plant of Fennovoima-Rosatom.
Titan-2, the Russian company and the Main Building Contractor of most of Rosatom´s projects has a long history of unpaid salaries, forgotten payments, major delays and shady connections. On late January, several national media’s wrote about Titan-2’s financial troubles in Finland: turned out it had been Pyhäjoki’s turn to have its share of forgotten rents, unpaid salaries, sacked workers and procurements moved to Russia instead of local grounds – as originlly promised. Naturally, the activists got interested to check what exactly is happening at the constrution site in this situation – and decided to hold a bit of a civil inspection at the site.
The activists faced no troubles in entering the supposedly guarded construction site. While checking the premises, they also visited some of the still standing, expropriated cottages – wishing the former owners could still one day return.
After inspecting enough, one of them occupied a digger. By that time, the familiarly clueless security company, Arlia, also noticed there’s something strange happening in the neighborhood.
After that, that usual procedure followed. Cops made their way to the site, person occupying the digger refused to come down, clueless security personnel bobbed around trying to look efficient – and after a couple of hours the cherry picker rolled in. One person was detained, others managed not to run directly in to the arms of the clueless security, and thus, were not caught but made it off of the site undetained.
Ok. We’re not of that type who’d tend to say ”we told you so”: but – we told you so. Already in July 2015 the Pyhäjoki protest camp threw a solidarity action for the worker’s left unpaid at Titan-2’s worksite in Russia. The company is in charge of the construction of the reference plant of Hanhikivi 1. On July 2015 this site made it to the Russian headlines after a crane operator locked himself into his crane, demanding the unpaid salaries to be delivered to the workers. Some workers stated they haven’t got paid for four months. With the solidarity action the activists wated to draw attention to the exploitation of workforce tends to be also characteristic for this type of projects. There´s only so many ways to keep a business profitable: and while destruction of nature is one, exploitation of human reources is another one.
The Finnish subcontractors at the Pyhäjoki site have been reluctant to comment the latest events publicly. Is the silence being hold over a fear of loosing contracts, or te keep further trouble away – or have these firms perhaps agreed to special terms in case of problems already when signing the deals? At least one of the subcontractors has threatened to pull his machinery off of the construction site, but cancelled the plan when getting his payments delivered on the last moment.
Fennovoima-Rosatom’s project director Minna Forsström’s explanation’s for the reasons behind the difficulties in payments were held implausible by many national medias. In the era of internet ordinary citizens trade over different borders without ”transaction- and ban issues” giving any trouble. A year ago Russian ngo Bellona aso reported of Rosatom’s financial difficultie’s at the compaby’s South African worksite.
Besides salaries, Titan-2 has also left rents unpaid and sacked some its workers for ”productional and financial reasons”. How true these stated reasons are can be compared to the fact that Titan-2 has also its procurement unit at Pyhäjoki and stated, that from this one it will direct all of its prucurings to Russia. At least one of the sacked workers is taking his case to the district court.
We all know how often its stated that these projects are all about jobs: but to whom? COmpanies size of Rosatom tend to bring not only their own rules, but also their own staff instead of hiring locally. The workforce used in preparatory works are customarely low-cost workforce brought in from cheaper Baltic and former Eastern bock countries – and there’s no reason to expect the Fennovoima-Rosatom site to be any different. False promises about jobs are just one more trincet these firms use to get what they want from municipalities and communities.
Both reactors, Hanhikivi 1 ja Leningrad 2 in Sosnovyi Bor share besides Titan-2 also a second company, St.Petersburgian Spaep. What you bet: how soon we’re going to have more troubles rolling in?