16 Dec 2016

Limited options for American Samoa cannery workers

4:46 pm on 16 December 2016

Few options are available for the workers being displaced by the closure of a cannery in American Samoa.

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Photo: RNZI

Samoa Tuna Processing in Atu'u shuts indefinitely tomorrow [Saturday 16-12-2016 New Zealand Time] putting 700 of its 800 employees out of work, most of whom are from Samoa.

The company said adverse business conditions meant it had not been able to sell its product and it's looking for a buyer.

Our correspondent in American Samoa, Monica Miller, said the government was working on a package to help workers but options were limited.

"Only a few have managed to find jobs in the private sector, odd jobs in the retail business as well as trades, other than that, we expect that most of the workers will be returning to Samoa," said Monica Miller.

Monica Miller said seasonal labour schemes in New Zealand and Australia may be the best option for the employees.

The local government was successful in securing grants of more than $US24 million to train people for new jobs after the Samoa Packing cannery closed in 2009 but a timeframe has yet to be given for the delivery of assistance following this week's closure.

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