Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 27 Feb 2018 12am







    Monday, February 26, 2018-4:39:50P.M.






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‘We will protest until we get paid’

THIRTY foreign workers staged another protest action Monday morning in Garapan, demanding payment of their wages.

The workers gathered outside Imperial Pacific Resort, and this time demanding payment from IPI, and not from their employer, Gold Mantis, a subcontractor.

The Commonwealth Casino Commission suspended Gold Mantis’ provisional license for 60 days, and the subcontractor cannot receive payments from IPI during the period of revocation.

Through an interpreter, the protesting workers said they “worked long hours to build the casino facility under dangerous conditions for little compensation or, worse, no pay at all,” until they were all laid off in April.

Workers hold banners and shout slogans as they demand their back wages during a protest action in Garapan, Monday.  Photo by Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

They added, “We are over 40 workers who constructed the Imperial Pacific casino. We first protested on May 25, demanding payment of our wages and compensation for injured workers. Nobody has come forward to compensate us, the injured workers, or even pay us to see a doctor. Nobody has come forward to pay the full wages and compensation owed under minimum wage and overtime laws.”

The worker said “IPI will earn millions of dollars when they open the casino but neither the casino nor the employer who hired us has paid us even the minimum wage for the hours that we spent building it.”

They added, “This is unfair and unjust. Imperial Pacific should pay the money we are owed. We will protest until we are paid what we have rightfully earned and the injured workers receive proper and just treatment.”

Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres in an interview on Monday said: “The last information I received from the [CNMI Department of Labor] and the private company is that there are some discrepancies whether it’s under the IPI subcontractor that is here, but at the end of the day, we are still responsible for these workers, no matter whose fault it is or whether the workers are here illegally. We are still responsible for them and their well-being, and must remind their employer to pay these workers their wages.”

The governor said he will meet with CNMI DOL to further discuss the issue.