NMI Labor ‘tracking down’ Gold Mantis officials

THE local Department of Labor is “tracking down” the officials of Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI) LLC which has not paid the wages of 80 construction workers — most of whom came here as “tourists” — for the past month and a half.

At around 12 noon Wednesday, the construction workers marched from their barracks in Chinatown to the north entrance of the Imperial Pacific casino in Garapan, chanting “Gold Mantis, return our money.”

Through the help of an interpreter, the construction workers said they paid their recruiter between 30,000 to 70,000 yuan or from $4,000 to $10,000 before they left China.

Edith Deleon Guerrero

Here, they said, they are supposed to be paid 300 yuan or $43.57 for nine hours a day, and 50 yuan or $7.26 in overtime pay an hour. Some of them told Variety that a $500 “introduction fee” was deducted from their paychecks.

Some of the workers on Tuesday said Gold Mantis is a subcontractor of MCC International which is a contractor of Imperial Pacific. But on Wednesday, MCC said it has no relationship, contractual or otherwise, with Gold Mantis or another Imperial Pacific contractor, Beilida Overseas.

On Wednesday, CNMI Labor Secretary Edith Deleon Guerrero and other department officials talked with the protesters at the construction site in Garapan.

A little later, three Imperial Pacific buses arrived and the protesters were asked to board them. The buses then left for an undisclosed location.

Deleon Guerrero said: “Right now, what’s important is to get them organized and bring them to a shelter and provide them with food. And I also worry about their other expenses.”

Asked where the shelter was, she said it was confidential.

She said she is still “trying to track down the employers so that the workers can get paid — we are looking into all these issues right now.”

Through an interpreter, one of the protesters told Variety that they went to the office of the U.S. Department of Labor in Puerto Rico in the morning because they could no longer find anyone from Gold Mantis.

They were told that “the bosses” of Gold Mantis might have left the island.

On Wednesday evening, Variety learned that the workers had returned to their Chinatown barracks.

Two of them, Zhou Quing Jiang, 45, and Jiang Jin Xu, 43, said Imperial Pacific brought them to a shelter where they would be provided with food.

But they said the shelter was too far from Garapan where their voices can be heard so they decided to return to their Chinatown barracks.

Zhou and Jiang said over the past month and a half, Gold Mantis has been providing them with food.

“But since Tuesday night, our employer has not communicated with us,” Zhou and Jiang said through an interpreter.

Now, they say, they don’t know where they will get food.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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