WORKERS WALK OFF $24 MILLION SAMOA GAMES PROJECT

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, July 24) – Some180 workers at the Chinese-funded Aquatic Centre project under construction in the Samoan capital, Apia, walked off their jobs on Friday and vowed not to return until they receive a pay increase.

The strike has created worries among Samoa government officials about the country’s preparations to host the 2007 South Pacific Games.

The 68 million tala (US$24.6 million) Centre is among key venues under construction in Apia in preparation for the games.

A spokesperson for the workers, Moeaiva Opetaia Lolo, told the Samoa Observer newspaper that the workers feel they should be eligible for a recent government general pay rise.

However, the executive director of the Samoa Games Authority, Fonoti Etuale Ioane told the newspaper that the Samoan workers were already being paid above the minimum wage.

The workers complain that their day starts at 7 a.m. and they are often expected to work late into the night without getting overtime pay.

July 25, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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