4 Jun 2007

American Samoan jobs feared at risk over increased minimum wages

1:00 pm on 4 June 2007

There could be a number of jobs at risk in American Samoa following the legislated increase to the U.S. minimum wage.

One of the territory's largest private sector employers, the cannery StarKist Samoa, has told its employees they will get the wage increase in July.

But, it's put on hold its construction of an expanded tuna pouch production line which had been expected to provide an additional 200 jobs.

Our correspondent, Fili Sagapolutele, says the cannery owner, DelMonte, will not say whether there will be any changes to the current workforce.

"Questions as to whether we're going to implement a reduction in the workforce remains unanswered, they haven't confirmed or denied that the tuna pouch expansion has been on hold. The only thing they have said so far, is that they are committed to working closely with local leaders."

Fili Sagapolutele reports that Del Monte says the discussions are to identify a solution in the best interests of American Samoa.