3 Sep 2009

American Samoa politician says government at fault over lost call centre jobs

2:53 pm on 3 September 2009

An American Samoa Senator, Velega Savali, is disputing claims from the Governor, Togiola Tulafono, that the increase in minimum wages is the reason why one of the canneries is closing and why 2000 call centre jobs will not materialise.

Velega says it's his understanding that the company, Info Tech American Samoa, was waiting for a lease from the government and that is the major hold up.

He says the minimum wage was never mentioned as an issue as the company had stated all along it would be paying wages higher than the minimum wage.

The Manua senator says the company had asked for a long term lease so that when the fiber optic cable is landed in the territory its facility would be ready, but he says the government has dragged its feet.

Velega also says there are several factors in the demise of Samoa Packing, not just higher labour costs.

He says if the territory had done a better job addressing the pay of local workers, the federal government would not have needed to become involved.