Solomon Islands - Labor
The wage labor force in 2002 totaled approximately 27,000. As of that year, 80% worked in agriculture, 5% had jobs in industry, and the remainder were in services. The country suffers from an acute shortage of skilled workers, and an estimated 80% of professional and technical employees are recruited from overseas.
Most employed persons have a standard workday of between five and six hours, six days a week, with overtime bringing the average workweek to 45 hours. The minimum working age is 12, or 15 years old for work in factories or on ships. In practice, given low wages and high unemployment, there is little reason to hire children. The minimum wage was $0.31 per hour in 2002. The Solomon Islands' largest trade union is the Solomon Islands National Union of Workers. Unions are free to organize and strike, although unions seldom strike. About 60% to 70% of wage earners were unionized as of 2001. Government regulations require employers to provide housing for workers whose jobs do not permit them to travel to and from home each day. Unions regularly engage in collective bargaining.