28 May 2007

American Samoa's Chamber of Commerce fears for business with increase in minimum wage

10:29 am on 28 May 2007

American Samoa's Chamber of Commerce president, David Robinson, says increasing the minimum wage in the territory is not going to be sustainable for many small businesses on the island.

The U.S. President George Bush approved a bill over the weekend which outlined spending for the Iraq war but also included provisions to increase minimum wages in American Samoa and also in CNMI.

The hourly rate now increases by 50 US cents two months after the bill is enacted and 50 cents for every year following until local wages are equal to the mainland level.

David Robinson says what the bill proposes is far too high and the escalating clause is unacceptable.

He says the bill calls for a review of the wage hike after a certain amount of time, which he says may come too late for some businesses.

"It's going to take quite a long time before the results of those reviews and the findings are going to be heard, and in the mean time we will be faced with the increase, this increase of 50 cents whether we like it or not."