13 Feb 2007

Call for higher minimum wage in American Samoa before higher salary for Governor

10:38 am on 13 February 2007

The American Samoan senate president is being presented with a demand to increase the minimum wage in the territory before the governor's salary is increased.

The president of Common Cause, P. Ben Teo, says he's opposed to the increase, which is being voted on by the senate, because it will mean the governor, Togiola Tulafono, receiving a salary of 100,000 U.S. dollars.

The governor, and the lieutenant governor, who's also in line for a salary increase, are also entitled to free government housing, a vehicle and travel allowances.

Mr Teo says this is incredible given that the minimum wage in the territory is only $2.96 an hour.

He says Common Cause wants that increased to 5 dollars an hour and salaries of teachers increased.

"We're taking it step by step. If the letter and my meeting with the president of the senate does not work, then our next step is a petition. If that doesn't work, then our last option is going on a hunger strike and that's the president of Common Cause, leading that hunger strike, inside the Fono house."