Over 80% of Guinea's labor force of about 3 million in 2000 were engaged in agriculture. Services and industry accounted for the remaining 20% of the workforce. Most of the population relies on subsistence farming. Most of the wage and salary earners work in the public sector; mining is the other major source of salaried employment.
Guinea's Labor Code permits all workers (except military and paramilitary) to create and participate in labor organizations. The General Workers Union of Guinea (UGTG) and the Free Union of Teachers and Researchers of Guinea (SLECG) have emerged since the code ended the previously existing trade union monopoly system. However, the National Confederation of Guinean Workers (CNTG) remains the largest labor organization. Collective bargaining is protected by law. Salaried workers, including public sector civilian employees, have the right to strike, provided that they have given 10 days' notice of an intent to strike and that they are not engaged in an essential service. About 5% of the workforce is unionized.
The minimum working age is 16, and is enforced for large firms working in the formal economy. However, most children work, either in the informal economy or in agriculture. The workweek is technically 48 hours, but most people work longer hours. The labor code has provisions for a minimum wage but the government has yet to establish one, and most workers do not earn a living wage.