Malta - Labor

The workforce in 2002 was estimated at 160,000. In 2001 services accounted for 71% of employment, while 24% were engaged in industry and the remaining 5% in agriculture. The unemployment rate in 2002 was estimated at 7%.

Labor is highly organized in Malta, and about 63% of Malta's workers were unionized in 2002. As of that year there were 38 registered trade unions. The largest union, the General Worker's Union, although independent, is informally associated with the Labor Party. The General Workers' Union was integrated with the Socialist Labor Party until 1992, when this affiliation was formally ended. Although certain compulsory arbitration and mediation provisions limit the right to strike, workers still enjoy a broad right to strike including anti-discrimination provisions to protect striking workers' employment. Comprehensive collective bargaining is practiced.

The legal minimum working age is 16, and this is effectively enforced by the government. The standard workweek is 40 hours but workers in some trades can work up to 45 hours per week. Occupational safety and health standards are set by law but enforcement is uneven and accidents remain frequent. In 2002, the weekly minimum wage was $112 for adults.

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