19 Feb 2018
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres said he had not been aware that there were still unpaid construction workers on island, but added that he would look into the situation and try to assist them so they can finally return to their home country.
When asked about it by U.S. Sen, Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, during the recent U.S. Senate committee hearing, Torres replied: “I would have to say that I’m not sure. I understood that those issues were addressed last year and [that they] were being paid. I am not aware of any other labor[ers] that are not being paid.”
In an interview on Friday, the governor said: “For the record. I didn’t lie. I didn’t know about the five [remaining] workers, and I will be calling the U.S. Department of Labor and asking why these five workers have not been paid yet. I will find out.”
Torres added that he will ask Imperial Pacific International to provide an update regarding the company’s offer to pay the workers backwages. The workers, who arrived here as tourists, were hired by an IPI subcontractor.
“I will be asking the U.S. DOL also. We should take care of this and those allegations. It’s unacceptable…. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you work, you should get paid. If these workers feel that they are being underpaid or if they feel they need to be compensated more for their work then we should help them. I will get at the bottom of this and find out more from the U.S. Department of Labor so we can address the workers’ situation.”
The workers have refused IPI’s payment offer and are demanding additional compensation.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/102341-governor-to-look-into-issue-of-unpaid-worker-wages