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Charity called on to support unemployed

A leading Swiss charity says it is considering collecting donations to come to the aid of people who have lost their jobs due to the economic crisis.

Swiss Solidarity, a charity led by swissinfo.ch’s parent body, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, is best known for raising money to help the victims of natural disasters, both at home and abroad.

A spokesman, Roland Jeanneret, said the charity was looking at different models to support the unemployed, saying the first hardship cases were not likely to appear before the autumn of 2010.

Jeanneret was responding to a proposal for Swiss Solidarity to raise SFr100 million which would be given as a debt guarantee to companies in the hard-hit industrial sector.

The idea was presented in the SonntagsZeitung newspaper by Otto Ineichen, businessman and a member of parliament for the centre-right Radical Party.

The debt guarantee would give Swiss firms greater access to bank loans to keep their heads above water, and their employees on the payroll.

In the first quarter of this year, export companies saw a sharp drop in orders of 42 per cent.

One in every four people in the Swiss workforce is employed in the industrial sector, and half of these have jobs with companies that depend on foreign orders.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR