31 Jan 2014

American Samoans struggling to get by on current wage rates

4:27 pm on 31 January 2014

The former director of Catholic Social Services in American Samoa says the majority of the workforce is already struggling on low pay and the government's plan to get rid of federally mandated wage hikes is wrong.

The governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga wants the Commerce Department to come up with a living wage for local workers and prepare a justification package requesting Congress permanently remove it from the automatic minimum wage hikes.

But Cecilia Solofa, who is still involved with a number of charities, says the cost of living has gone up to the point that current wage levels are not enough for many to afford the basics.

She says most of the population are unskilled low-income earners while a lot of immigrant workers are being taken advantage of.

"The people with no immigration clearance and all that, they are doing a lot of the dirty work, even in some construction businesses, they are not paying the people even the minimum wage. These people's integrity are very much violated, I'm telling you nobody cares about them."

The next minimum wage hike is scheduled for September next year.