Employers and workers face difficult times

Swiss employers have warned that there are “tough times ahead” for businesses, and they need more leeway to adapt staff working conditions.

This content was published on November 7, 2011 - 12:10 and agencies

A statement issued by the Employers’ Association on Monday says employers should be able to increase working hours and reduce wages. It should also be possible “in certain exceptional cases” to pay cross-border workers in euros.

The head of the association, Valentin Vogt, told journalists that if the franc remains at its current level against the euro, this would lead to “structural damage to the economy as a whole, with job losses and outsourcing”.

He said export industries and tourism would only become competitive again if the rate were between SFr1.30 to 1.40 to the euro. The ceiling above which it is currently not allowed to rise is SFr1.20. In early August the two currencies were almost at parity.  

However, the association describes its proposals for employees as “emergency measures”, and says they should be part of a “coherent package of measures”.

Unemployment figures for October also issued on Monday show a rise for the first time this year. The rate now stands at 2.9 per cent, as against 2.8 in September.

However, it was 17.4 per cent down on October 2010. Two thirds of the increase was the result of seasonal factors; the hospitality industry accounted for nearly half of it, as the summer holiday period came to an end.

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