13 May 2009

American Samoa Senator says govt must prevent Star Kist from leaving

10:53 am on 13 May 2009

American Samoa's Senator, Alo Dr Paul Stevenson, says while nothing can be done to stop the closure of Samoa Packing, the government must take swift action to prevent Star Kist from leaving too.

Senator Alo says the country cannot cry over spilled milk with Samoa Packing but needs to work with Star Kist to keep it here.

He says if the US Congress wants the minimum wages increased it has to be willing to help protect local cannery jobs.

The Ituau senator agreed with sentiments expressed by Governor Togiola Tulafono that Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin has not done enough to protect the territory's main industry.

Senator Alo says secondary companies that do business with the canneries or depend on cannery employees will face economic hardship.

He says the various industry classifications covered under the minimum wage must be reviewed because there's misinterpretations of where certain jobs fall under.

Senator Alo says the loss of Samoa Packing business, coupled with the next 50 cent hike in the minimum wage will be difficult for the petroleum, shipping, and other industries that service the canneries.