The labor force was estimated to number two million in 2002. In 1998, about 65% of the labor force engaged in agriculture, 30% in services, and 5% in industry. The majority of families engage in subsistence farming.
Trade unions in Togo, which once were the base for left-wing opposition to the military regime, have been incorporated into the one-party system. The Central Committee of the RPT dissolved the central bodies of all Togolese trade unions in December 1972, and the National Workers Confederation of Togo (Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs du Togo—CNTT) was established in 1973 as the sole national union. In 1991, the National Conference suspended the automatic withholding of CNTT dues for all workers, and it froze CNTT's assets. Several trade unions left the CNTT, some of which then affiliated with two new federations: the Labor Federation of Togolese Workers and the National Union of Independent Syndicates. Since 1991, all of Togo's labor federations have taken a more active role in independent collective bargaining. About 60–70% of the workforce in the formal (wage) sector (about 20% of the entire workforce) was unionized as of 2002.
The minimum working age is 14 (18 for certain industrial employment) but it is not enforced and many children work, especially on their family's subsistence farms. The minimum wage varies for different categories of employment and ranged from $20 to $33 monthly in 2002. This does not provide a living wage for a family. The workweek is limited to 72 hours, with one mandatory rest period of 24 hours.