9 Dec 2016

Backing for GAO view on minimum wage in American Samoa

6:34 am on 9 December 2016

The US based owners of American Samoa's StarKist Samoa cannery have commended the US Government Accountability Office's suggestions to ease concerns about federally mandated increases in the minimum wage.

The US government requires the minimum wage to increase in 50 US cents instalments until it reaches $7.25 an hour.

While the increases aim to keep pace with the cost of living, the GAO has outlined alternatives including making the increase steps 40 US cents an hour.

A spokesperson for Starkist Michelle Faist said the company had seen the negative impact of inflationary wage increases and the resulting decline in the local economy.

She said American Samoa's economy was devastated by the impact of the earlier minimum wage increases.

In recent weeks Tri Marine International announced an indefinite closure of its cannery operation in Pago Pago from next week.

Ms Faist said StarKist faces the same challenges with its operations in American Samoa and have been struggling to maintain a stable operation.