The Tautua Samoa Party plans to raise the minimum wage from $2.30 to $3.00 an hour.
The plan was revealed yesterday during the Party’s weekly press conference held at Matautu.
In making the announcement, the Shadow Minister of Finance, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele said the government owes workers $2.70 more per hour in terms of their wages.
Based on the labour market, Afualo said Samoans should be paid a minimum wage of $5.00 considering the T$2million Growth Development Profit of the country.
“If you look at the labour market, the actual minimum wage for our people should be $5.00 but they are getting paid $2.30 which means the government owes all these people $2.70 more,” he said.
“What we are suggesting is to raise it to $3 at least so people are given a little more money to assist their families.”
Afualo said he is also mindful that if the minimum wage is raised to $5, the private sector, especially those employing about 20 plus workers will struggle.
But that shouldn’t be a problem if the government gives businesses that are employing more than 20 people some kind of assistance, he said.
The Shadow Minister said there are 24,000 employees in Samoa and about 5,000 of them are working for the government. That leaves about 10,000 people who are mostly paid the minimum wage.
Tautua Samoa Leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II, said the $2 billion G.D.P that the government likes to flag does not reflect positively on the current minimum wage.
He said most employers don’t pay the $2.30 minimum wage because of love for their employees who have families to feed and support.
Palusalue said the minimum wage is responsible for a growing number of street vendors.