2 Feb 2009

American Samoa's Congressman seeks minimum wage hike delay

12:37 pm on 2 February 2009

American Samoa's member of the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, has asked for further increases to the territory's minimum wage to be postponed.

The Congressman to the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Congressman George Miller, that minimum wages have gone up by $1 an hour.

The increase came after the enactment of the federal minimum wage law.

Faleomavaega says while he is appreciative and was supportive of this increase for local workers, given the global financial crisis it's necessary that the US Congress provide temporary relief for businesses operating in American Samoa.

He says they can't afford further hikes in minimum wages at this time.

Faleomavaega says the starting minimum wage for about 5,0000 cannery employees in American Samoa is now at $4.26 per hour.

Cannery workers in competitive markets are paid $0.70 cents or less per hour.

A federal law passed in 2007 requires that the local wage is hiked by 50 cents each year until local wages catch up with the federal rate of $7.25 per hour.

The third wage increase is set for May.