Tunisia - Working conditions



In 1999 the labor force stood at 3.3 million, a substantial increase from the 1995 figure of 2.84 million. Some 22 percent of the labor force is employed in agriculture, 23 percent in industry, and 55 percent are in services. The public sector employs around 25 percent of the labor force. The official unemployment rate in 2000 was 15.4 percent, leaving the number of people without a job at 480,000. It is likely that the real rate of unemployment is significantly higher than the official figure, with some estimates putting it as high as 20 or 25 percent. About half of the unemployed are under the age of 25, many of whom are unskilled. The country has a national literacy rate of over 70 percent, and about 90 percent of the workforce under the age of 35 is literate. Although job-training programs and secondary educational institutions produce many skilled workers, many young people still cannot expect to find jobs with high-paying salaries. According to the EIU Country Profile, 70,000 jobs will need to be created outside agriculture to create full employment . There is also a large underground

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Tunisia 28 8 8 3 12 8 34
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Egypt 44 9 7 3 17 3 17
Libya N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
a Excludes energy used for transport.
b Includes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

economy whose production is estimated at 15 percent of the GDP, and in which workers have no legal protections against adverse working conditions.

According to law, Tunisian workers have the right to form labor unions, and about 30 percent of the work-force is unionized. There is 1 national labor confederation, the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT), to which all unions belong. Wages and working conditions are agreed upon through collective bargaining between the UGTT and the employers' association, and these agreements apply to about 80 percent of the public sector. The Labor Code sets a standard 48-hour workweek for most sectors and requires one 24-hour rest period. The industrial minimum wage is 170 dinars (US$155) per month for a 48-hour workweek and 149 dinars (US$136) for a 40-hour workweek. The agricultural minimum wage is 5.20 dinars (US$4.74) per day. The law prohibits forced child labor and sets the minimum age for employment in manufacturing at 16 years. The minimum age for light work in agriculture and some other non-industrial sectors is 13 years. The law also requires children to attend school until age 16.

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