Lithuania had an estimated labor force of 1.9 million in 1994. Thirty-two percent of workers were employed in industry, 12 percent in construction, and 18 percent in the agricultural sector. Most of the remainder worked in a variety of activities in the services sector--14 percent in science, education, and culture; 10 percent in trade and government; and 7 percent each in health care and in transportation and communications.
Trade-union activities are specifically provided for in the constitution and are protected by legislation. The Joint Representation of Lithuanian Independent Trade Unions is an organization of twenty-three of the twenty-five trade unions and was founded October 22, 1992. Teachers and other government workers not involved in law enforcement or security work are permitted to join unions. Strikes and other confrontations between labor and management have occurred but are limited by the nascent free-enterprise system and the perception that employment alternatives are limited. Public employees organized strikes in 1992. Some Lithuanian trade unions are affiliated with international trade organizations, and organizational assistance has been provided by Western countries, especially the Nordic countries. Safe employment practices, regulation of workplace safety, and protection from reprisal by employers against employees who complain about illegal working conditions are provided for in the constitution. A minimum wage must be paid, and child labor is prohibited.
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