There were 514,000 workers employed in 1995. The principal employment sectors were: Construction and industry 36%, services 24%, agriculture and fishing 14%, trade, restaurants, and hotels 16%, transportation and communication 7%, and finance 3%. The estimated unemployment rate in 2001 was8.6%.
Unions have the legal right to organize, strike, and bargain collectively, and the trade union movement is active. There were over 335 labor unions in 2001, with 111,231 members, representing about 22% of the workforce. Workers are granted the right to strike, but this is severely curtailed by a mandatory cooling-off period and compulsory binding arbitration. Antiunion discrimination is prohibited and an arbitration tribunal handles complaints of such discrimination. Although the law protects collective bargaining, there are not enough safeguards in place to protect employees from discriminatory actions by employers.
The minimum working age is 15, with restrictions for those under age 18. However, child labor and exploitation is still practiced and penalties for infractions are minimal. Minimum wages are set by the government, and cost-of-living allowances are mandatory The minimum wage ranged from $3.53 to $12.30 per week in 2002, but due to a labor shortage and contract negotiations, actual wages are about double this figure. The standard legal workweek is 45 hours.