A US advocate group for Chinese workers has sent a letter to Imperial Pacific International (IPI) urging the company to pay former construction workers on the site of its Imperial Pacific Resort in Saipan “the full amount they are owed” in the wake of a compensation offer made last year.
According to local news outlet The Saipan Tribune, Li Qiang, founder and executive director of China Labor Watch, has contacted IPI after learning that the company was ceasing humanitarian support for workers illegally employed by its former main contractor MCC International.
MCC International and another company, Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, paid out money owed to around 100 employees last year under a directive from the US Department of Labor.
“The other people who worked for MCC or Gold Mantis, who were part of earlier settlements, also had their recruitment fees repaid by those companies. Why shouldn’t these workers?” the China Labor Watch letter asks.
“Both [companies] are responsible for paying these amounts and the companies can then fight among themselves over who ultimately bears the costs.
“Imperial Pacific should pay these workers the full amount they are owed and then it can seek to recover this money from the contractors that it hired. This is the fair and just thing to do. Do not ask the workers to chase after MCC, they have already tried.”
IPI revealed in November that it was ceasing humanitarian support for the former workers and that it would be withdrawing its compensation offer if workers refused the money being offered, which also included repatriation assistance back to China. The offer follows recommendations made by the CNMI Department of Labor.
However, according to The Saipan Tribune, China Labor Watch has cited the Fair Labor Standards Act which says employees who “receive compensation late are entitled to receive legal compensation and liquidated damages of an equal amount.”