Trade unions are permitted in Mauritius and trade union membership stood at 106,000 in 1995, representing about 29 percent of wage and salary earners. Trade union activity has decreased as the population has become wealthier and unemployment has declined. Over the period 1990-1995, there were between 4 and 9 strikes annually.
The steady rise in unemployment between 1996 and 1999 signifies that much still has to be done to improve the skills profile of the workforce. As of 2000, the demand for skilled workers outstripped the supply, especially in fields such as marketing, management, accounting, and computing.
Women make up about 27 percent workforce, a relatively low proportion by international standards, although female labor force participation has increased since 1980. Women earn on average about half of what their male counterparts earn. The state provides welfare payments for the unemployed, and there is a social aid scheme for poor families. There is also a national pension scheme.