American Samoan tuna factory to slash jobs

American Samoan tuna factory to slash jobs

American Samoan tuna factory to slash jobs

Posted 19 November 2008, 9:27 AEDT

The Star-Kist tuna cannery, the largest employer in American Samoa, says rising costs have forced it to lay off workers and scrap most workers' benefits.

The company, owned by South Korea's Dongwon Industries, employs about 2,000 workers in the US territory of 57,000 people.

US legislation has caused wages in American Samoa to increase by nearly a third in the last 18 months.

Under legislation passed by the US Congress last year, workers in American Samoa will receive an annual wage rise of 50 cents an hour - until the local minimum wage reaches the mainland rate of $US7.25 an hour.

Star Kist says it is cutting 20 full time jobs and abolishing paid holidays and pension benefits.

It says it is making the changes to avoid a reduction in processing employment at the facility in the near term.