4 Feb 2008

American Samoa told more increases in minimum wage would be disastrous

8:26 pm on 4 February 2008

The American Samoa government and business officials have told a legislative hearing that a second 50 cent increase in the minimum wage would be disastrous for the territory's economy.

The increase is expected to go into effect in May.

The deputy director of Commerce, Lelei Peau, told the hearing that the first 50 cent hikes last year cost the two largest private employers, Star Kist Samoa and Samoa Packing 3 million US dollars.

Mr Peau said if the next increase goes ahead, the canneries would have to pay an extra $4 million.

The Chamber of Commerce said its important that the territory support Congressman Faleomavaega's efforts to stop any further wage hikes.

Chamber President David Robinson said the government must act quickly to diversify the economy and remove impediments stopping economic growth.