14 May 2015

Cannery argues American Samoa should set own wages.

9:13 am on 14 May 2015

The owner of a tuna cannery in American Samoa is arguing that wages should be determined by locals, as a federally mandated wage hike in the territory looms.

Tri Marine International's Samoa Tuna Processors plant was officially opened in American Samoa in January, and currently employs about 500 people, but says it cannot afford any future minimum wage increases.

The minimum wage in the territory is set to rise by 50 cents in September, following a three year wage freeze.

Tri Marine's chief operations officer, Joe Hamby, says the company has long held the view that wages should be determined by American Samoans who know the local economy best.

Our correspondent, Fili Sagapolutele says there are mixed feelings to the issue, with some arguing that they need better pay as the cost of living rises.

"But then you also hear people, some cannery workers who are saying that, yeah, it's good to have a new minimum wage, but they are afraid of losing their job - if it goes back to a couple of years ago where the Starkist Samoa was forced to lay off some one thousand people. They'd rather have a job, than no job at all."

Cannery, American Samoa

Cannery, American Samoa Photo: Supplied

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