7 Chinese workers protest anew


Four of six protesters hold up a banner yesterday demanding that they be paid the wages allegedly owed them. (Erwin Encinares)

Six of seven Chinese workers held a protest again yesterday to demand payment after being notified that Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC would no longer negotiate or provide them with humanitarian assistance.

Six of seven workers protested yesterday in front of the casino resort in Garapan following a notice of eviction from Metro Time (CNMI) LLC, the owner of the building where they are staying, as well as a notice from IPI lawyer Sean Frink in late November 2017 that IPI is ceasing further negotiations and humanitarian support for the workers.

The workers, who came in as tourists, were employees of MCC International, but IPI has been paying for their food and housing since MCC International left the CNMI after the illegal employment came to light.

Metro Time’s eviction notice stated that the workers would be evicted 30 days after Nov. 20, 2017.

The remaining workers are Gong Ben Ji, Li Qiang, Cui Lian, Wu Da Wei, Xu Long Cai, Guo Qing Hui, and Fang Yu Guo. Each worker has worked for MCC International, IPI’s main contractor, after entering the CNMI under the CNMI-Guam visa waiver program.

According to the CNMI Department of Labor, each worker is owed between $1,125 to a maximum of $5,129. IPI, at the recommendation of CNMI DOL, reportedly offered to give those amounts to the workers but each one has refused, saying they should be paid more.

Frink’s letter stated that, come Nov. 27, 2017, IPI would no longer negotiate with the workers. He said the offer would be “forever withdrawn” if the workers did not accept the offers by 3pm that day.

One of seven workers, Li Qiang, remains firm in his demand for more money.

“We need the money. We will wait until we get paid,” said Li through a translator.

When asked what he plans to do once he is evicted, he replied, “I don’t know yet.”

Li wants $18,000 in compensation as his colleagues have received that amount before leaving the CNMI. The lowest he would consider is $17,000.

Frink, on behalf of IPI, said in his letter that despite the lack of legal responsibility over the workers, IPI has provided them with food and shelter, as well as offered to pay what is owed them based on CNMI DOL recommendations and investigations and pay for their repatriation to China.

“…Your demands for payment beyond what CNMI DOL has determined you are owed before you will agree to return to China has caused IPI to determine that, effective immediately, it will no longer pay to house and feed you,” Frink wrote, adding that the additional amounts the remaining workers are demanding are “unspecified and/or legally or factually unsupportable.”

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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