U.S. SENATE DELAYS WAGE HIKE IN AMERICAN SAMOA

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Minimum pay was to climb from $2.68 to $3.18 per hour

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 29, 2010) – The US Senate has passed by unanimous consent a bill delaying the next 50 cent increase in the minimum wages in American Samoa and the CNMI.

[PIR editor’s note: The current minimum wage affecting most workers in American Samoa is $2.68 per hour. The mandated increase would have raised the figure to $3.18 per hour. ]

The bill must go back to the House of Representatives and American Samoa’s delegate in the US Congress Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says it should be on the House calendar tomorrow.

Since 2007, minimum wages in the two US territories have been incrementally hiked by 50 cents each year.

Federal legislation requires that the wages be on the same level as the US mainland of $7.25 in two years.

Business owners in American Samoa say they would have to cut employee hours or even reduce staff if the wages are increased.

The Chairman of the Governor’s Economic Advisory Council David Robinson said business are already hurting from the layoffs at StarKist Samoa, higher utility costs and weakening US dollar.

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