AMERICAN SAMOA CHAMBER ASKS FOR DELAY IN WAGE HIKES

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Minimum wage increases hurting economy

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 27, 2009) – The American Samoa Chamber of Commerce has urged Congressman, George Miller, the chair of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labour, to delay the 2010 minimum wage hike for a year.

Both American Samoa and CNMI want a one year delay to the federally imposed increases that have the territories minimum wages rising incrementally to eventually reach the levels paid on the mainland.

The latest increase came into effect this week.

Earlier one of American Samoa’s key employers, the Samoa Packing tuna cannery, signalled it would close and the wage hikes were a factor.

The Chamber chairman, David Robinson, says they want Mr. Miller to work with the American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono and its Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin to delay the next 50 cent wage increase, which is scheduled to come into force in May 2010.

Mr. Robinson has suggested instead that the bi-annual review of wages in line with prevailing conditions in the local economy be re-instated.

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