4 May 2009

American Samoa facing difficult challenge with key employer shutting its doors

7:17 pm on 4 May 2009

American Samoa's Governor Togiola Tulafono admits that job prospects are slim for workers who will lose their current jobs with the imminent closure of the Samoa Packing cannery in the territory.

Samoa Packing's parent company, Chicken of the Sea International, has announced it will shut down the cannery, which employs over 2000 local people, in September.

Hopes that some workers could be absorbed into the territory's other cannery, Starkist Samoa, have been dampened by speculation that it soon intends to lay off around 200 workers.

Togiola says there are few vacancies anywhere in the territory.

"We do not have any alternative plans. There's no way we can employ these folks. We hope that Starkist will be able to transition some of them into their operation if jobs are available, but we suspect they are not."

However Togiola says he believes some of the workers will be retained by Chicken of the Sea for a side venture.