No real jobs yet for Yazaki workers

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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NO GUARANTEES: Workers are waiting for Minister of Finance, Sili Epa to come through with government's plans for their future. File Photo.

NO GUARANTEES: Workers are waiting for Minister of Finance, Sili Epa to come through with government's plans for their future. File Photo.

There is no real assurance for hundreds of Yazaki Samoa employees to get real jobs as they set to close later this year.

This was confirmed by General Manager, Funefeai Oliva Va’ai in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

“There is no real assurance at this stage, but we can only do our best to make sure that people who are unskilled get a chance to get a job.” he said.

 “We are looking at every opportunity where we can work with other existing employers to try and make the transition easier.

Last year Cabinet confirmed the end of production date for the Yazaki EDS Samoa Ltd. in Samoa on the 25th of August.

And since then Yazaki has launched trades training for its employees.

The focus by Yazaki is for employees to gain skills or find new employment when the company closes.

As of today, more than 200 employees of Yazaki Samoa will be retained through to October and then between 60 to 90 will continue working through to November 2017.

A previous interview shows that job creation is on the mind of the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, as the government prepares for life after Yazaki Company closes.

He said that the government is looking at ways to minimise the impact of the closure of Samoa’s biggest private employer.

“I think in two or three years we will be able to provide for them,” he said.

“Obviously there is the investment in the Submarine Cable and the sorts of opportunity that will come in terms of connectivity." 

“There are also ongoing discussions with some fishing companies who are expressing interest in investing here and looking at expanding on what they are doing.”

Minister Sili said there is no need to panic. Rather the government wants to firm up those negotiations so that it would have a better plan when the company closes.

 “In tourism, if it works well, there will be another area where there will be more opportunities for people to work in."

Away from tourism, Sili encouraged people to continue to work their land.

“People should work to utilise the resources that are available to them,” he said.

 “People can encourage others, who are basically living in the same village and you know life in villages are not too bad, rather than staying in town and causing trouble and creating all sorts of problems.”

Last year, Y.E.S. Branding Division Manager in Japan, Yoko Yamada, said the closure is due to the car manufacturing industry in Australia winding up.

He said the latest developments in the market there have had a “knock on impact here,” forcing the company to re-evaluate the viability of their operation in Samoa. 

Mr. Yamada said the company fully understands this is a difficult situation for their employees and their families. 

But they are committed to provide support where they can to make the transition smooth.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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