Laid off workers: We’re also essential

Posted on Nov 26 2018

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Some of the Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC casino workers that were laid off stage a protest outside the still-to-be finished Imperial Pacific Resort last Friday in Garapan. (Jon Perez)

The former casino workers who’ve been let go hope that Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC would also consider their contribution to its success and treat them as essentials.

Almost 160 were recently let go, most of whom were working as dealers at the casino. More than 50 of the workers staged a protest rally last Friday in front of the still-to-be-finished Imperial Pacific Resort, where IPI interim chair Mark Brown agreed to meet them. The meeting was held last Saturday at the Chambre Bar of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.

“We, the CW [workers], are privileged enough to be part of this billion-dollar investment and to have it considered our main source of income for our families. [We’re] able to live on an island [that] we have considered our home away from home,” the workers said in a statement.

They said their skills contributed to the financial success of the casino investor on Saipan. “We also understand that we, the Asian CW casino staff, were hired by IPR to make use of our professionalism and experience in the Asian gaming floor that proved to be effective.”

“Therefore, without us, the casino would not have achieved the overwhelming profit that had put IPR and Saipan on the map, and at par with the other big casino resorts in the world.”

They, however, felt that IPI management did not value them enough after Super Typhoon Yutu hit the islands. “Sadly, due to the recent events, we were simply set aside by the management because it had to.”

“This is where we draw the line. Where we should be considered as essentials to the company. Therefore, it is only fitting for the company to acknowledge our sacrifices and importance by giving us proper compensations so that we can have something to bring with us home.”

“Especially that Christmas is only a month away and to have something in our pockets to start the next year. Again, we plead to you [IPI management] of our rights to have this well-deserved severance pay and not just seven days,” the statement said.

IPI, in the notice of layoff they gave the workers, stated that the company would shoulder their plane tickets and they would receive seven days of payment aside from any accrued paid time off or PTO.

Joy Trinos said she was informed by IPI’s human resources department that she was laid off on Nov. 21, but details of their ticket and flight departure have yet to be arranged. “All they said was that IPI wants all the workers to leave the island on Nov. 29.”

“We don’t know yet what airline and other details of our flight back home. We also don’t know if they would provide baggage allowances. If ever, they [HR representatives] said that we’re allowed one baggage and we would shoulder the cost if we have an extra bag.”

Bruce Lim, a pitch supervisor, said the laid off workers are only hoping to get paid. “We are just asking to get the payment we are hoping for. They called and I went on Nov. 19 where I submitted some documents. I signed my clearance but not the seven-day severance pay.”

“Because I read somewhere that we’re entitled to at least 60 days. They said that the recent typhoon is an issue. Then, they should have stopped the operations and totally shut down the casino. If they were affected by the typhoon, why did they open up the casino again?

Reymar Duran said that some of their co-workers were just getting their pay slips or had discrepancies in their salaries, but were also informed that they are being laid off.

“Some didn’t get paid properly. There were others that filed their PTO or sick leave since the company is downsizing, and they did not get paid. All of us that were laid off were not informed about our return tickets. All of those that resigned, who could no longer bear with our situation, were already given return tickets,” said Duran.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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