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Level playing field More wage checks for foreign workforce

Unions fear that low skilled foreign labour will push down wages on building sites


The number of spot checks on companies employing foreign workers will increase from 27,000 a year to 35,000. The checks determine whether the wages of overseas employees are undercutting those of the domestic workforce.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) decided on Wednesday to increase measures to ensure a level playing field between foreign and Swiss workers. The new number of checks is a compromise between the 50,000 demanded by trade unions and a plea from employers to keep the level unchanged.

The measure has been in place for several years with the number of workers arriving from the European Union increasing. Unions fear that cheaper workers will drive down wages or take jobs from Swiss workers – particularly in the construction and hospitality sectors.

Earlier this year, parliament increased fines imposed on employers found undercutting wages from CHF5,000 ($4,950) to CHF30,000. In 2012, laws were tightened to close a loophole allowing people to set up as bogus self-employed workers.

A government appointed taskforce is also examining a number of other measures to standardise and tighten the wage control process. Most of these will be implemented next year. with agencies

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