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Quota fallout Unions called on to address immigration-related labour issues

Economics minister Schneider-Ammann will serve as Switzerland's incoming president beginning in 2016.

(Keystone)

The government is calling on unions and management groups to help address worker shortages and labour market abuses amid fallout from Switzerland’s anti-immigration initiative.

The cabinet had been expected to stipulate “accompanying measures” to promote the indigenous workforce and to fight against labour market abuses in the wake of the acceptance of the initiative against mass immigration in February 2014.

However, economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann announced Friday that the cabinet will instead rely largely on unions to find solutions to these issues, which have been highlighted as possible consequences of limiting the entry of workers from abroad.

Unions must agree by February on measures to fight against labour market abuse. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) will lead a working group to bring together unions and cantons, which is expected to submit a report to the cabinet by March.

Where qualified personnel shortages are concerned, the cabinet will focus on the hardest-hit sectors, including healthcare, construction and hospitality. Collaboration between cantons and world labour organisations will be intensified, and dedicated working groups will examine and address gaps in training and professional development. A summit on the labour shortage is anticipated in September 2016.

Cabinet made some minor revisions to the law on illegal and undeclared work, chiefly concerning the improvement of communication between labour and tax authorities. It also announced it will launch a pilot programme to integrate refugees into the Swiss labour market, which will include support for learning one of the four national languages.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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