Labor issue spells possible trouble for IPI

A mass exodus of workers on the Imperial Pacific Resort construction site could mean more delays are in store for the casino-hotel, which is aiming to complete construction by August 2018.

According to the Saipan Tribune, around 3,000 worker slots were cut from the CW-1 program this fiscal year, which has wreaked havoc on IPI’s labor pool as well as other businesses requiring foreign workers.

“The biggest issue [to the progress of IPR] are the [lack of] workers,” said IPI construction project director Eric Poon in a meeting with the casino commission earlier this week.

Poon said that more CWs are due to leave in December due to the CW-1 cuts for the 2018 fiscal year.

As of this month, IPI has a total of 207 workers at the construction site, down from 291 a few weeks ago.

“People have started leaving and their numbers are going down due to the CW issue,” he said.

Poon however said he was confident that the casino resort will finish construction in time for its August 2018 deadline.

The company is aiming to bring in around 100 to 200 U.S. workers from Hawaii and Guam in December to continue construction work at the site.

Commission vice chairman Joe Reyes, during a meeting with IPI, said a possible delay (as a result of a lack of labor) may lead to another request from IPI to amend its casino license, but was hopeful that the casino resort will meet its deadline.

“We’d love to see this project move forward, and it is part of our job to see to it that it is completed and that there will be no chaos along the way,” Reyes told Poon.

More news from this jurisdiction

Pacific IslandsThursday, Apr 05, 2018

The Pacific Island of Guam needs to approve casinos to avoid losing its tourists to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, where gambling is permitted on Saipan, Tinian and Rota, a leading academic warned.

Pacific IslandsWednesday, Apr 04, 2018

An effort to save a program that allows the Northern Mariana Islands to import labor is likely to fail due to recent cases of abuse and visa fraud, the AP reports.

Pacific IslandsThursday, Mar 15, 2018

Imperial Pacific’s Saipan office was allegedly raided by U.S. federal agents last week, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Pacific IslandsTuesday, Mar 06, 2018

The U.S. government has ordered four China-based construction contractors behind IPI’s new casino resort on Garapan to pay a collective $13.9 million in back wages and damages to employees who came from China to work on the casino’s construction site.

Pacific IslandsTuesday, Feb 27, 2018

A lawyer representing Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC told the Commonwealth Casino Commission last week that they are planning to propose an extension to resort completion deadline.

Pacific IslandsTuesday, Feb 20, 2018

Imperial Pacific International said it “repudiates all allegations of wrongdoing” published in an investigative article by Bloomberg looking into its operations on Saipan.

Pacific IslandsMonday, Feb 12, 2018

Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International said it is working on recruiting more U.S. workers for its hotel-casino in Garapan.