4 May 2009

Samoa Packing to shut American Samoa plant end of September

11:09 am on 4 May 2009

Chicken of the Sea, Samoa Packing has officially said it is shutting down its local cannery on September 30.

The move was announced by Governor Togiola Tulafono at a media conference over the weekend,

The governor said he asked the cannery representative if there was a chance for the company to reconsider its plan and seek other alternatives to maintain its operations .

However he was told the decision, which will hit up to 1,500 workers, was final.

Togiola said he asked if the increase in the minimum wage was the reason for the cannery's departure but was told that it was difficult to give a definite answer.

But the cannery officials indicated their belief that the wages had a big part to play in the decision to shut down.

Governor Togiola says the work opportunities for those who are to lose their jobs are slim:

"I don't think we have vacancies anywhere in the government, so there's going to be a lot of people laid off from work. The company has promised to work with their employees to make the transition a little easier, how that is gong to work I dont know, they have not announced any specific plans."

Governor Togiola said that Samoa Packing intends to maintain a fish purchasing facility there after the closure but no other specific details were given.