13 May 2015

Minimum wage hikes unaffordable for American Samoa cannery

9:03 pm on 13 May 2015

The parent company of a recently opened tuna cannery in American Samoa says it cannot afford future minimum wage increases.

Tri Marine International's Samoa Tuna Processors plant was officially opened in American Samoa in January, and currently employs about 500 people, with the minimum wage for cannery workers set at $4.76.

The next mandated 50 cent minimum wage hike for the territory is set to be effective from September 30.

However, Tri Marine's chief operations officer, Joe Hamby, says the company has just started in ther territory and increasing costs will have a negative impact on its young business.

Cannery, American Samoa

Cannery, American Samoa Photo: Supplied

Our correspondent, Fili Sagapolutele, says American Samoa labour costs are higher than other competitiors in the tuna industry like South East Asia, and the minimum wage issue is huge for the territory going forward.

"There aren't any new investment opportunities, or new industry, or new companies opened up in American Samoa in the past years, except for Tri Marine which made a major investment. Local businesses have argued as well that they can't afford to go forward with any future minimum wage."

Fili Sagapolutele.