21 Sep 2017
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
THE 37 remaining construction workers of MCC and Beilida said they regret coming to Saipan, where they ended up spending more than what they were supposed to earn.
One of the workers, Song Zhaopeng, said after hearing the offer from Imperial Pacific International to pay their back-wages on Wednesday morning, they decided to reject it.
MCC and Beilida are contractors of IPI.
Song said IPI’s offer was below the amount they are entitled to receive under the law.
He was offered $4,681, but he said he spent $6,000 alone just to travel from China to Saipan.
Song said they should be paid extra for the months when they were not paid their wages.
Another worker, Zhang Chunfeng, said the offer is “not fair.” He added, “We worked long hours, even when it was raining, and some of us got injured while working and we’ll only get this amount? It’s not acceptable.”
He said he worked for MCC and Beilida for seven months and cannot accept the $3,312.73 that IPI offered to pay.
Liu Yaquiang was offered $1,720.75 for eight months of work while Li Xingbei will get $3,853.45 for six months of work.
Xu Longcai said he will get $1,455.10 for two months of work; Shi Hongru, $3,757.70 for eight months of wages; Li Zhong $3,056.38 for seven months of work; and Liu Tiesheng $6,259.28 for eight months.
All of them are former workers of MCC and Beilida. The Gold Mantis workers who also staged protest actions over their unpaid wages have since gone home after getting paid.
The remaining workers said they and the representatives of IPI and the Department of Labor will meet again after two days.
Zhang Chunfeng said they agreed to think things over and after two days, the DOL and IPI representatives will explain to the workers how they calculated the back-wages.
Zhang said if they fail to arrive at an agreement, they will remain on island and stage more protest actions until their employers pay them their back-wages.
He said most of them are angry and they “extremely regret coming here.”
Most of them are in debt back home, he added, and those who were injured at their worksite were never taken to the hospital.
He said their employers pushed them to work long hours but did not pay them on time. He added that their passports were even confiscated by the contractors when the authorities began looking into their immigration status.
Zhang said the working conditions in Korea are a lot better than Saipan’s.
Currently, the 37 remaining workers are staying in a two-story apartment in Garapan. IPI pays the rent and feeds the workers three times a day.
The IPI and DOL representatives who met with the workers Tuesday morning told them that the officials of Beilida and MCC had already left the island.
On Wednesday, the DOL representative told the workers that MCC and Beilida were not cooperating with Labor and are claiming that they did not employ the workers.
The DOL representative told the workers that if they want to go home, all they have to do is to accept IPI’s offer.
The DOL representative reiterated that the MCC and Beilida officials could not be found and that they were illegally recruited in China and worked here illegally.
The DOL representative said the workers should return to China and go after their illegal recruiter.
The workers said they have been on island for seven months now without work.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/98723-workers-decline-ipi-s-offer-say-they-regret-coming-to-saipan