Swiss vote down plan for highest minimum wage

THE SWISS public yesterday rejected a policy which would have made the country’s minimum wage the highest in the world.

More than three quarters of the electorate voted against the proposal, which would have driven the minimum wage to SwFr22 per hour (£14.67), giving every full time worker an annual equivalent income of well over £20,000.

A total of 76.3 per cent of voters opposed the motion, which was promoted by the country’s largest trade union group but opposed by the country’s business federations.

“If the initiative had been accepted, without doubt that would have led to job cuts, particularly in remote and structurally weaker regions,” Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said.

A second referendum yesterday on the government’s purchase of 22 Swedish Gripen fighter aircraft was also lost by a slimmer margin, with 53.4 per cent of voters rejecting the motion. The deal would have cost the country SwFr3.1bn.

Any proposal can go to a federal referendum in Switzerland if a petition gets enough signatures.

In February, the electorate voted in favour of a motion which would restrict immigration to Switzerland even for citizens from EU countries.

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