15 May 2015

American Samoa wages should be based on economy

4:09 am on 15 May 2015

The American Samoa Chamber of Commerce says it wants to go back to a system where wage increases are based on how the economy is performing at the time.

Minimum wage hikes in the territory have been on hold since 2009, and the next 50 cent per hour increase is set for September.

The chair of the Chamber of Commerce, David Robinson, says the economy is not robust, and there are no signs of improvement in the short-term.

He says he would like to go back to a system where a number of agencies would conduct bi-annual reviews of wages.

"They would review wages based on how the economy was performing at the time. Th-at I think is generally the preferred option to get back to that system where we are the masters of our own destiny and we can determine what sort of increase should go on and that would be determined by the way the economy is performing at the time."

David Robinson says he hopes Washington can have mercy on American Samoa and continue the wage freeze while they search for long term solutions.

The territory's two canneries, which provide the largest number of jobs in the private sector, say the wage hikes will be detrimental.

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa Photo: AFP / Michael Runkel / Robert Harding Premium