24 Aug 2018

Northern Marianas investigates claims by Chinese workers over pay

6:46 pm on 24 August 2018

The Northern Marianas government is investigating claims by Chinese construction workers on Saipan after they staged protests on Thursday over unpaid dues.

Flooding infront of the under-construction Imperial Pacific casino resort.

Photo: RNZ Pacific / Mark Rabago

More than 30 labourers at a hotel construction site in Garapan claim they were not paid overtime by the Chinese company Juangsu Provincial Construction.

Two workers told the Marianas Variety they were also owed almost $US3,000 each in recruitment and introductory fees.

An attorney for the company said the workers were paid regular wages and overtime fees, disputing they were owed anything else.

The workers were reportedly working at the Imperial Palace, a luxury hotel being developed by Imperial Pacific International.

Previously, they had worked at the troubled Imperial Pacific casino, the site they marched on in their protest this week.

On Thursday, Imperial Pacific issued a profit warning, saying it expected to record "a substantial decrease in profit for the six months ended 30 June 2018."

The full results from the earnings period will be released by August 31.

Earlier in the week, Imperial Pacific's chairperson Cai Lingli stood down, just days after the company said it was experiencing issues funding its salaried employees.

Casinos are a staple income for several of the Northern Mariana Islands, attracting waves of tourists from China and elsewhere in Asia, where gambling is often legally restricted.

Separately, this week on the island of Tinian, Alter City's casino license was suspended after it failed to pay a license fee of $US500,000 for last year.