Hundreds of IPI workers protest nonpayment of wages

Casino construction (file)

Hundreds of Imperial Pacific International workers stopped work and engaged in protests on the streets of Saipan, decrying the non-payment of their wages and poor conditions in their dormitories and at the construction site.

Carrying signs with messages such as “We Want to Get Paid” and “Open Back the IPI Bank Account,” the workers appealed for their money, many of them explaining that their families back in their various home countries were depending on them.

The workers explained to the media that salary payments started to become irregular from about two months past, and many workers have received nothing at all for the past two weeks.

Much of the frustration was directed at US District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, who recently ordered the company’s bank accounts to be frozen in order to pay former subcontractors such as Pacific Rim Land Development. Some workers called for the judge to be replaced and for the funds to be restored to IPI.

Other protesting workers made clear that they were also dissatisfied with IPI management which has repeatedly failed to fulfill promises, both financially and in terms of improving “ridiculous” conditions at the construction site.

It is said that about 90 percent of IPI’s roughly 2,000 employees are currently furloughed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. About 400 active and furloughed workers participated in the street protest.