A large-scale casino is being constructed on the Pacific island of Saipan, but those that are helping the construction feel as though they are not being treated fairly. Just this week, 50 construction workers took to the streets to protest what they are calling unfair treatment. The workers are claiming to be underpaid, and very significantly so. This is just the latest in the string of issues facing this particular casino project. We recently broke a story regarding an FBI probe into the death of a worker.
Most of the workers have come by way of China, and are working in Saipan via visas. In fact, many of the workers are not legally allowed to begin working, despite the organization that brought them there telling them differently. This situation can be likened to that which is still occurring in Qatar, where the 2022 World Cup is scheduled to be held. There, workers complain not only of being unpaid, they are also complaining about terrible working conditions and having their passports seized, effectively trapping them in the country.
The workers who took to the streets to protest are all Chinese and were brought to Saipan on tourist visas, according to Reuters. Being that this is so, they are unable to work and therefore cannot be paid. These workers are demanding to be paid wages, claiming that they were lied to and misled when being brought to Saipan. Now, stuck in a foreign place and receiving no money, the workers are beginning to become extremely frustrated, and rightfully so.
The workers are all said to be employed by Metallurgical Corporation of China, LLC., which was contracted by Imperial Pacific to help complete construction of the Best Sunshine Live casino and resort. Though MCC has not responded with any comments of their own, Imperial Pacific has.
In a statement, Imperial Pacific said, “Imperial Pacific International is strongly reiterating that it does not condone the hiring and or employment of individuals by illegal means. Imperial Pacific International is emphatic in its request to all of its contractors and subcontractors to follow all local and federal labor and immigration laws and regulations in the conduct of its business, including and in particular, the hiring of construction workers.”
Now, because the situation has gone unresolved for so long, the Federal Bureau of Investigation from the United States has gotten involved. They are currently being charged with regard to illegally importing Chinese workers, some of which have died either while working or while in transit.
As you could have probably guessed, this debacle is drawing a lot of international attention and criticism. To this day, however, the workers who are still stuck on Saipan without pay have nowhere to go and no one to turn to. We will continue following this story as it is still developing and moving forward.