Over 80% of Tanzania's working population was engaged in agriculture in 2002. The industrial sector is very small; services and government account for much of the remaining workforce. The labor force was estimated at 13.5 million in 2001.
In 1964, by legislation of the National Assembly, the existing 13 trade unions were dissolved and amalgamated into a single national institution, the National Union of Tanzanian Workers. This was reorganized in 1978 to take in Zanzibar trade union activity as the Organization of Tanzania Trade Unions (OTTU), which still is the only labor union organization. The OTTU was renamed the Tanzania Federation of Trade Unions (TFTU) in 1995. As of 2002, only approximately 5–7% of the wage-earning labor force was organized. Strikes are permitted after a lengthy and complicated arbitration procedure which delays a resolution for months. Collective bargaining does not regularly occur, and public sector employee wages and benefits are set by the government.
With the permission of a parent, a child as young as 12 years old may work on a day-to-day basis. Employment of a long-term contractual nature cannot begin until a minor is at least 15. Enforcement of these provisions is inadequate and has actually declined in recent years with increased privatization. The standard workweek is 40 hours for government workers, while most private employers retain a 44–48-hour workweek. A minimum wage is fixed by law; as of 2002, it was about $38 a month.