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Unions launch minimum wage initiative

The Trade Union Federation has launched a people’s initiative to establish a minimum wage in Switzerland.

The campaigners have 18 months – until July 2012 – to gather at least 100,000 signatures to force a nationwide vote.

“There has been massive pressure on lower and average wages for the past 20 years,” the federation’s president Paul Rechsteiner told a news conference.

The text calls for a minimum salary of SFr22 ($23.20) per hour at 2011 rates. This would apply to everyone except apprentices, trainees, family businesses and voluntary workers.

The unions named a range of sectors where low-wage jobs are found: cleaning, textiles, watchmaking, parts of the hospitality industry and the retail trade, and businesses whose employees do not have a general contract.

The federation says minimum wages should also be achieved via a general contract, which lays down conditions covering all workers in a particular industry or enterprise.

At the moment only some branches have general labour agreement which include minimum salaries. and agencies


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