Businesses support higher minimum wage

Business leaders say Samoan people deserve a higher minimum wage, and applaud moves to discuss it in consultations next week.

Ray Hunt, financial controller for Frankie Company Limited said while any increase in minimum wages would cost the company, it would not affect their prices. 

“Frankie has always absorbed any increases for wages and [National Provident Fund] contributions in the past and will continue to do so,” Mr Hunt said.

“If a proposed increase comes into effect it will have no impact of our existing selling prices.”

Frankie Company Limited employs around 700 people across Samoa. Mr Hunt said higher minimum wages would benefit widely.

“Personally, I applaud it. I think it's great for the worker and the community because the money goes straight back into the economy so everyone benefits, and the reality is that people clearly need the extra money."

 “As a company we believe that staff should always be paid a fair and reasonable wage for their efforts.”

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Speaking as the Ah Liki Investments general manager and not in his capacity as a Chamber of Commerce member, Asiata Alex Brunt said he believes in a minimum benchmark people need to earn before they can provide for their families, calling the issue “economic and moral.”

“I think there is a benchmark people need to earn to provide the basics for their family,” he said.

“If they are below that it is kind of hard to get a stick out and hit them over the head and say you’ve got to eat healthier and have no non-communicable diseases, you’ve got to save money so you are not loaning so much. 

“You can’t buy expensive vegetables and healthier foods, you can’t save for a rainy day if you are not earning beyond a certain benchmark.”

He said his company would support any increase in wages that are conducted sensibly without putting the economy at risk.

While the cost of living continues to rise in Samoa and abroad, wages should be kept in line and ensure people can make ends meet, he said.

“There is a lot of social pressures, whether it’s from the village, the family, the church, where we all have to contribute and those are all pressures we have to acknowledge that exist and that a person has to be able to put a bit of their weekly wage towards.

“I’m not saying wage is the only answer that will solve all our problems, of course not. 

“This is just one of those maybe 10 or 20 things we need to do to combat some of the problems we’re having.

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