Central African Republic - Labor

The vast majority of the labor force is engaged in subsistence farming, herding, and fishing. The unemployment rate was approximately 8% in 2001, with up to 23% unemployed in the capital city of Bangui.

The General Union of Central African Workers, the only central union since 1964, was dissolved in May 1981 by the Dacko regime, which formed the government-backed Confederation of Central African Workers. This body existed chiefly on paper, however, and had no collective-bargaining authority. In 2002, there were five labor federations. The two main ones were the Organization of Free Public Sector Unions and the Labor Union of Central African Workers (USTC). Unions have the right to strike after certain conditions are met.

The 40-hour week has been established for non-agricultural workers. Labor tribunals with equal representation for workers and employers settle individual disputes, and advisory labor commissions intervene in the settlement of collective disputes. Labor offices provide free employment services. The government sets minimum wage laws sector by sector. In 2002, agricultural workers had a minimum of $12 per month while office workers were promised $28 per month. The minimum wage promises a family the basic essentials, but provides little else. There are general safety and health standards, but the Ministry of Labor and Civil Service has never defined them or enforced them. Although the labor code prohibits the employment of children under the age of 14, child labor is a common practice especially in rural areas.

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