New batch of workers protest in Saipan


A third group of construction workers, hired under subcontractors to work on Hong Kong-listed gaming company Imperial Pacific’s new Imperial Pacific Resort hotel/casino project on the island of Saipan, has staged a protest over unpaid wages, according to the Saipan Tribune.
The workers, promised pay of RMB300 (US$43) per eight-hour working day, had not been paid for work from February 27 to April 2, and have “no longer been working since April 3,” according to Wang Feng Kai, one of the workers, as quoted by the publication.
The construction workers, around 80 in number, had come to the island on tourist visas knowing that they would be working illegally, and had been informed by their contacts on the Mainland not to ask questions, talk to anyone and only do what they were told on the construction site, notes the publication.
The workers – although demanding the employer pay the hourly rate for work done as well as returns on expenses deducted from payrolls, provide a return ticket home and refund a US$50-US$100 deposit on their uniforms – only have verbal contracts with the ‘broker’ in China who arranged their recruitment and have neither formal contracts nor verbal agreements with the end employer, notes the publication.
The territory’s Governor’s Office issued a statement saying it was monitoring the situation and that “The Governor has met with Imperial Pacific, the airline industry, and relevant stakeholders to tell them this practice is not permitted and is to the detriment of the CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) economy”.