28 Sep 2010

Wage hike in US Pacific territories in doubt

6:21 pm on 28 September 2010

A bill before the United States Congress calling for a delay in raising the minimum wage in American Samoa and the Northern Marianas is expected to be passed tomorrow.

This would defer the next planned 50 cent increase, set for Thursday.

Business operators in American Samoa have expressed concern at the impact the forced wage rise would have on them.

American Samoa's US Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says the measure now has what is termed unanimous consent from the Senate.

He says hopefully the deferment will given the American Samoa Government the time it needs to put together a plan to diversify its economy.

Faleomavaega says he has mixed emotions about the move because he wants American Samoa workers to be paid fair wages.

But he says as the territory's economy stabilises and diversifies, he would like the issue revisited.