SAIPAN NIGHTCLUB WORKERS LEFT IN LURCH

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 9) – ASC Inc., doing business as Nagoya Star Night Club, will be closing on April 29 but its employees have yet to be paid up to two months of their salaries and lady’s drink commissions promised to them.

According to former and current employees, Nagoya, which opened in 1994, also withheld from its dancers and other employees copies of their employment contracts for months or years, as well as copies of a recent promissory note to pay workers’ delayed wages.

Nagoya Star employees fear that if they file a labor complaint against their employer, the case may be dismissed or the investigation result in a favorable outcome for the owners and management.

They said ranking Department of Labor officials frequent the night club and are "close" to the club management.

Variety is withholding the names of the Department of Labor officials provided by the workers at this time. Labor Secretary Gil San Nicolas has not been returning Variety’s calls for comment.

Nagoya Star manager Angelina Cabrera issued a memorandum dated March 29 to employees, informing them that Nagoya Star will be closing "at the soonest possible time."

The succeeding sentence in the one-page memo, a handwritten one, states: "Effective March 30, 2007 and ending on April 29, 2007."

Labor investigator Joe Villagomez, according to the workers, told them that they have 45 days from April 30 to look for another employer. Villagomez declined to comment both on the closure notice of Nagoya and possible labor violations, and referred Variety to the office of San Nicolas last week.

The memo from Cabrera states that Nagoya Star "will allow/support you to look for another employer for a 30-day period and anyone who wishes to return to the Philippines" is urged to inform the management.

The memo also says that Nagoya Star "will update all our accountabilities to you (employees)."

The workers said the Nagoya Star management informed them that they will no longer be given their lady’s drink commissions, which they used to receive and which were reflected on their pay stubs. The lady’s drink commissions are not included in their contracts but were promised to them when they were hired and they received these up until a few months ago.

Workers also said it was only recently that they got copies of their employment contracts from Nagoya Star management, and this was only after they demanded them from the management. Some of the employees worked for Nagoya for years without being given a copy of their employment contracts until last month.

"Even if Nagoya extends its operations, I won’t work for them again because of the way they treat their employees," one of the club employees told Variety on Saturday.

Labor cases and complaints have been filed against Nagoya Star Night Club by its former employees, many of them now working for other employers on Saipan.

 

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