Spokesmen for the 80 Filipino construction workers terminated by Imperial Pacific International last week say they were discriminated against by on-site managers of the company’s Imperial Pacific Resort in Saipan and told to do jobs that were outside the scope of their skillset.
Speaking to the Saipan Tribune on Monday, one of the workers – who asked not to be identified – said they were yet to be told the real reason for having their contracts terminated and that he was determined to give his side of the story.
“We can’t defend ourselves and they [IPI] have been telling us different reasons,” the worker said. “Some are saying that we’re not qualified for the job or that we’re hard-headed.”
Another worker claims they were hired to fulfil specific tasks but then asked to complete other jobs that they weren’t qualified to do, including the “dangerous” assembly of scaffolding.
“There’s one mason who has yet to do mason work and was tasked to sweep the area while there’s a plumber who was asked to do carpentry,” he told the Saipan Tribune. “On top of this, we assemble scaffolding, which we’re not qualified to do. There are certified workers who assemble scaffolding because it is very dangerous.”
IPI said in a statement over the weekend that it was prioritizing the employment of local construction workers over foreigners as well as scaling back the scope of construction after being granted a two-and-a-half year deadline extension last month through to 28 February 2021.
“The purpose of the reduction is to adjust the level of labor supply based on the demand of the construction project,” the company said.
“The adjustment is in line with effective workforce planning and efficiency improvement of the project. IPI plans to hire local construction workers who are released by Pacific Rim (IPI’s former contractor) to ensure their continued employment.”
It has been rumored that IPI is preparing to release another 100 foreign construction workers.