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    Saturday, December 7, 2019-12:15:38A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Casino commission asks IPI about its ‘shrinking’ construction workforce

THE Commonwealth Casino Commission last week asked Imperial Pacific International vice president for construction Eric Poon about IPI’s “shrinking” construction workforce.

After Poon updated the commission on Tuesday regarding the construction of IPI’s hotel-casino in Garapan, Commissioner Diego Songao said he remembered IPI telling the commission in previous meetings that it would hire more construction workers.

“So why did over 150 construction workers leave the island a couple of weeks ago?” he asked Poon.

Poon said some of the construction workers have resigned while others moved to other job positions “due to performance.” He did not elaborate, but he said that the overall construction schedule has something to do with the reduction in workforce.

As of last week, Poon said the IPI construction site had a total of 481 workers — 150 from Mongolia, 151 from Taiwan, 45 from Australia, four from Thailand and 131 “local manpower.”

He said there are parts of the construction project that have been completed already so it “financially makes sense” to “pac”’ IPI’s overall construction schedule.

But Commissioner Alvaro Santos said, “You let the Taiwanese construction workers go because according to [a] news report you were paying them $22 an hour, and you replaced them with Mongolian workers who are paid $11 per hour. To me, that makes sense. So just tell us the truth that it’s about saving money. We can understand that.”

Commission Chairman Juan M. Sablan, for his part, agreed. “You mentioned in your report that it’s about performance but it appears to us, it’s really about money,” Sablan told Poon.

“If it’s about saving money, let us know. We can understand that. At least we know what really is happening,” he added.