So far, no complaints have been filed by any worker against Sino Great Wall International Engineering, the company working to build the multimillion-dollar Imperial Pacific Resort in Garapan.
“I am not aware of any filed complaints,” said Labor Secretary Edith Deleon Guerrero said.
The workers last week held a peaceful protest near the construction site and demanded that Sino Great Wall pay their wages.
“[DoL’s] Enforcement Division is addressing the matter since onset regarding the workers concerns of unpaid wages. Without a question [DoL] will pursue not just this matter but any and all employment related matters for any employee(s) and with any employer doing business in the CNMI,” said Deleon Guerrero.
She said protecting employee rights is their No. 1 priority. “It is important that employee rights are protected which includes timely and full payment of wages.”
Deleon Guerrero also reminded employers that DoL considers workers’ rights a serious issue. “All businesses in the CNMI are expected and shall adhere to employment laws. [DoL] considers employer responsibility and the protection of employee rights a serious matter.”
IPI: Issue between sub-contractor, workers
IPI downplayed last Friday’s protest, saying that they are not involved in the issue and it is between two parties not connected with the Hong Kong-based conglomerate. Details were limited and Sino Great Wall has not issued any statement as of press time.
IPI clarified in a statement that they are not involved in the dispute. “IPI states that the protest involves a dispute between Sino Great Wall Int’l Engr. (CNMI) Co. LLC and its employees.”
“The dispute does not involve IPI. IPI reassures the CNMI that its ongoing construction of its multimillion-dollar facility is not affected and will continue as scheduled. IPI is hopeful that the parties will resolve the dispute amicably and in a timely manner.”
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said unfair labor practices have no place in the CNMI. “It is unfortunate that we have had to experience this on our islands. This is something that the government or anyone on the island should not tolerate.”
IPI said they had already paid Sino Great Wall.
Torres advised IPI to make sure that even workers of companies they hired as subcontractors get paid. “At the end of the day [IPI] is still responsible for the situation, because that’s where the permit is.”
He is confident that IPI’s Garapan hotel would be finished on time. “I’m confident [IPI] would finish their project.”