23 Jun 2009

Guam Chamber of Commerce monitors Defence Authorisation Bill

9:07 pm on 23 June 2009

Guam's Chamber of Commerce is closely watching federal legislation that would affect the construction cost and labour make-up of the millitary buildup in the territory.

Eight-thousand marines and their families are to be transferred from Okinawa in Japan to Guam by 2014 after the U.S and Japan signed a deal on the relocation in February.

The US national defence authorisation bill proposes that construction workers be paid double the islands' current wages in line with wages on Hawaii.

It also proposes to restrict foreign labour to thirty percent if it passes in its current form.

The chamber's president, Frank Campillo, says it would affect Guam.

"If wages raise that much, companies that are doing business on the island will be significantly impacted, and the whole economy will be impacted. There's not enough labour force in Guam to be able to fill out all the employment requirements of the buildup."

Frank Campillo says some companies are concerned about bringing in workers from Hawaii or the US mainland."