30,000 demonstrate against social cutbacks

Some of the 30,000 protestors in Parliament Square Keystone

Around 30,000 people have gathered outside parliament, according to union organisers, protesting against the dismantling of the welfare state at a time of crisis.

This content was published on September 19, 2009 - 17:30

"We've had enough of these 'bonus knights' riding around and managers on excessive salaries," Paul Rechtsteiner, president of the Swiss Trade Union Federation, told the audience in Bern's packed Parliament Square on Saturday.

He also criticised working conditions and pressure placed on workers by managers who themselves "filled their pockets".

The public should not bear the brunt of unemployment insurance cuts, a higher retirement age and drops in pension scheme payments, he added.

Rechtsteiner also criticised the House of Representatives' decision on Tuesday to adopt a slimmed down version of the government's third economic stimulus package – while the government didn't hesitate to bail out UBS.

The package, intended to support the labour market and the unemployed, was reduced by parliamentarians from SFr400 million ($386 million) to SFr65 million. and agencies

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