CCC to IPI: Look into protests

IPI: They are not our employees; they protested to stay

The Commonwealth Casino Commission has prodded Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC to look into the latest incident of workers staging a protest in front of the casino-resort in Garapan to demand payment.

During the commission’s meeting last Thursday, commission chair Juan Sablan said he wants IPI officials to investigate employee protests under Jiangsu Provincial Construction Group as they protested last week with claims of not receiving overtime compensation for nine months.

IPI sub-contracted the services of American Sinopan LLC to provide manpower while American Sinopan sub-contracted Jiangsu to work on the IPI project in Garapan.

“I understand that they are not IPI employees and I also understand that they are not American Sinopan employees, but this is the same process with what happened to MCC International,” casino commission executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero said in Thursday’s meeting, when Sablan asked IPI officials if they were investigating the matter.

“…It is our understanding that they have been fully paid, and that they were just complaining because they want to stay on the island,” said an official of the IPI legal team, citing information relayed to them by American Sinopan.

“IPI should be discussing with American Sinopan their obligations to their subcontracts, otherwise we would have a repeat of MCC,” warned Deleon Guerrero.

“Can we get a more detailed investigation on that issue because… we do not want a repeat of previous situation,” added Sablan, saying that even though the protesters are not directly employed by IPI, they remain a “part of the project.”

The commission expects a report from IPI about the matter at the next casino commission meeting this month.

Sablan noted that he is looking into inserting provisions over subcontracting and how they affect the IPI project as a whole.

American Sinopan, according to Deleon Guerrero, is currently applying for a license from the casino commission. He noted that the application was submitted prior to the protest; however, one of the requirements are to be in full compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration, local, federal, and all other laws.

“It appears that, if what those workers say is true, then we may not be able to license [American] Sinopan, which in this case, if they are a critical component of your project, you might want a heads-up on this,” Deleon Guerrero, said, addressing the IPI officials.

“We expect all our contractors and subcontractors to follow the law as well. When the issue was brought to our attention, we were surprised as well. We sought assurances from our subcontractors and they assured us they were paid in full,” IPI’s Chuck McDonald noted.

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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