TUNA CANNERIES AGREE TO IMPLEMENT NEW MINIMUM WAGE IN AMERICAN SAMOA

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (June 13, 2001 - Radio Australia)---The two tuna canneries in American Samoa have agreed to implement without fuss the new minimum wage awarded to factory workers by a U.S. Labor Department appointed committee.

The new wage of $3.60 an hour will take effect at the end of this month and remain in force for two years.

It is a six cents an hour increase - a raise of just under two percent.

The manager of Starkist, Phil Thirkel, described it as an affordable increase and he said he didn't foresee any cutback in employment.

Samoa Packing's manager, Herman Gebauer, said his company would accept the decision and not launch an appeal although he said the increase would make local tuna canning less competitive in a world market with many low cost producers.

The two canneries employ 5,000 people in American Samoa, many from neighboring, independent Samoa.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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