In 2001, there were about 1.7 million persons in the labor force. As of 1993, employment by sector was as follows: industry and mining, 31.1%; agriculture, 4.3%; government (including education and health), 19.1%; and other, 45.5%. In 2001, official unemployment was 20.2%.
All workers, except the military and police, may form and join unions of their own choosing without prior authorization. There are five national labor federations and associations, and unions generally are independent of the government and political parties. About 64% of the workforce was unionized in 2002. The right to strike and bargain collectively is protected by law, although there are restrictions and limitations. Nonpayment of wages continues to be a serious problem.
National minimum wage standards are in place, but are insufficient in providing a worker and family with a decent living standard. The minimum wage was set at $211 per month in 1999, although in 2002 the average monthly wage was almost twice the minimum requirement. In 2002 the standard workweek was shortened from 42 to 40 hours. The minimum working age is 15 and this is generally enforced. There are also occupational safety and health standards, but these are not routinely respected.