25 Jun 2011

American Samoa business group says Territory must take more responsibility for wages

6:10 am on 25 June 2011

The American Samoa Chamber of Commerce says it's time for the territory to take more responsibility for determining its own wage rates.

A new report just released by the United States Government Accountability Office looks into the impact of a federally imposed minimum wage structure that began in 2007.

The report into jobs and pay in American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands notes the economic decline in both countries as the tuna processing and garment manufacturing industries depart the territories.

A member of the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce, Joey Cummings, says a better economic future rests squarely on the shoulders of business people.

He says he welcomes the report and says it makes the point that workers are realistic about finding a balance.

"They want a fair wage. They don't want to be paid a pittance, they want to be paid fairly for the work they do. But they are also keenly aware that if this minimum wage escalator clause isn't managed or done away with, then it's very possible that, yeah, there'll be some great paying jobs out there but there'll be far fewer of them."

Joey Cummings says it is important that the government remove obstacles and pave the way for businesses to grow and the economy to improve.