31 Oct 2018

American Samoa governor hits out at minimum wage increases

9:58 am on 31 October 2018
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Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

American Samoa's Governor has taken a jab at the US Government and decisions made in Washington that, he says, give no consideration to local conditions.

In a statement, Lolo Matalasi Moliga pulled no punches, in his strongest comments yet regarding federal increases to the minimum wage.

The federal government has incrementally raised the minimum wage for several years now, against opposition from many of the Pacific territories.

The governor said after a complete and thorough economic analysis and having lived through the past five wage increases, the administration can no longer remain silent on the matter.

He warned that the potential closure of the island's biggest employer, Starkist, would spell an economic disaster for American Samoa.

Lolo said such a situation would leave his government no choice but to rely more on the US, which is the exact opposite of his government's goal to enable people to stand on their own feet.

The governor went on to say that what his administration would like to see is the return of the authority and the control of minimum wage to local decision makers.

The release came just before meetings in Washington between the US government and a delegation from the territory led by Lieutenant Governor Lemanu Mauga.