Vanuatu - Working conditions

The situation of the labor force is difficult to determine, due to a lack of recent data. Using Vanuatu's definition of labor force, the bulk of the adult population is said to be in the labor force, with most of these being involved in village agriculture. Most of those working in the wage and salary economy are located in Port Vila or Luganville, the 2 largest urban centers. At the time of the last census, the unemployment rate was calculated to be only 1 percent, although there appeared to be a great deal of underemployment involving people who were working only part time. As in most Pacific island nations, there is no unemployment benefit. The minimum wage was set at 16,000 vatu (US$140) per month in 1995, and this applied to both rural and urban employment. Earlier minimum wage levels had been lower in the rural sector, and it was felt by some that the rural minimum was above market rates and would inhibit job creation, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Workers in the formal sector are represented by at least 16 trade unions, generally organized according to industrial sector, but coordinated by the Vanuatu Council of Trade Unions.

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