Mozambique - Labor

In 1997, the workforce was estimated at 7.4 million. In that year, agriculture accounted for 81% of the labor force, industry and commerce 6%, and services 13%. Unemployment stood at 21%.

The law provides for workers to organize and join unions, although less than 1% of the workforce are union members. The vast majority of those unionized are in larger urban areas where industries are located. There is a constitutional right to strike, with the exception of government employees, police, military personnel, and employees of other essential services. There are two labor federations. The law protects the right of workers to engage in collective bargaining, and prohibits anti-union discrimination.

The minimum working age is 15 but many children work on family farms or in the informal urban economy. The minimum wage for industrial employment was set at $30 per month in 2002. The agricultural minimum is $20 per month. Neither of these minimums provide a living wage, and most workers earn more or engage in additional labor or family farming to supplement their earnings. The legal workweek is 44 hours. The government has enacted health and environmental laws to protect workers, but these provisions are ineffectually enforced.

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