Imperial Pacific to pay $3m to settle wage dispute

Casino construction (file)

Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific will pay $3 million to settle U.S. Department of Labor claims that construction workers weren’t paid minimum wages and overtime, the AP reports, citing court documents.

The operator of the Saipan casino will also deposit $100,000 in escrow for any future violations and will pay for an independent monitor to inspect worksite conditions and ensure wage law compliance.

Seven Chinese men allege in a lawsuit they were forced to work 12-hour days and live in dorms without showers, the report said.

The company has been plagued with labor issues during the construction of the luxury resort and was forced to fire its main contractor, MCC International, amidst claims it had illegally imported Chinese workers.

In March this year, a group of workers announced they were suing the company due to forced labour and human trafficking.

The company is having difficulty in finding enough labour to meet its construction needs, with recent changes to visa laws compounding the problem by excluding the importation of Filipinos for construction work.

Imperial Pacific has said the labour shortage may mean that it won’t meet its extended deadline to finish the first phase of the resort.