19 Feb 2009

Minimum wage increase behind shorter cannery working days in American Samoa

9:24 am on 19 February 2009

The reduction in working hours at American Samoa's canneries will be hitting workers' salaries.

The factories, StarKist Samoa and COS Samoa Packing, have cut back working days without giving any reason.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago, Monica Miller, says the workers don't get paid when the plants are closed:

"I have talked to the local manager of Starkist Samoa. I was asking him about the Monday shutdowns, which have been in place since earlier this year and he says it's market forces and then he dosen't go into full detail, but I really believe it's related to the minimum wage increases."

Starkist is also planning an unexplained shut down of the plant for all of next week.

Eighty per cent of workers at the plant are so-called alien employees, without voting rights in American Samoa.