28 Sep 2010

American Samoa minimum wage hike about to take effect

1:32 pm on 28 September 2010

The next 50-cent increase in American Samoa's minimum wage is due to take effect on September the 30th amid efforts by some leaders to delay the hike.

The lowest paid employees will be earning $4.68 an hour while fish cleaners are set to earn $5.26 an hour.

The territory's delegate to the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says negotiations are progressing behind the scenes to stop the federally mandated increase.

He says while Governor Togiola Tulafono has publicly announced a letter he wrote to the South Carolina senator who is blocking Senate action on the wage bill delay, he has been quietly negotiating with Senator Jim Demint.

"Because time is of the essence this is what we did. But I think what had happened is that somebody on the Senate side, the democratic side, may have alerted the Governor about what we were trying to do. I didn't think it was necessary that the Governor thought of this, simply because things are moving so quickly and I wanted to do this as quietly as possible."

Congressman Faleomavaega said developments are likely over the next few days.