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.
swissinfo.ch and agencies