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Neuchâtel


Public protests spread over spending cuts


Several hundred people have taken to the streets of the northwestern town of La Chaux-de-Fonds to protest against planned government spending cuts.

Organisers - a coalition of leftwing parties and trade unions – said up to 1,500 demonstrators took part in the protest on Saturday.

They rejected proposed longer working hours and job cuts. Instead, they called for tax increases for the well-off.

Last week, about 600 teachers went on a one-day strike trying to avert salary cuts.

The Neuchâtel cantonal government has warned the public deficit was getting out of hand. It proposed spending cuts to the tune of CHF100 million (CHF98.5 million) over the next three years.

Next year’s budget foresees a CHF68.5 million shortfall in revenue to cover public expenses.

In an unusual move, the cantonal government appealed to the citizens to avoid blocking necessary reforms.

In a bid to avoid a further conflict, it invited the leaders of the main political parties and the trade unions, as well as representatives of the teacher’s association for talks next week.

swissinfo.ch with agencies



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