Swiss unions demand new euro exchange rate

Labour unions in Switzerland have called for a new euro exchange rate to help counter the effects of the strong Swiss franc.

This content was published on October 18, 2011 - 11:18 and agencies

They have suggested an exchange rate target of SFr1.40 to the euro in order to better protect jobs and salaries.

“The speculative overvaluation of the franc is a problem for the Swiss economy,” said Unia trade union co-president Renzo Ambrosetti at a media conference in Bern on Tuesday. He noted that in the tourism and the metal industries alone, some 10,000 jobs were at risk.

Daniel Lampart, chief economist of the Trade Union Federation, warned that Swiss employers and builders should resist the urge to take advantage of the low wages common in many parts of Europe.

“If companies can hire ‘cheap foreigners’, then ‘expensive locals’ will lose their jobs,” Lampart said.

In September, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) set a minimum exchange rate target of SFr1.20 to the euro. This was after the franc nearly reached parity with the euro in August.

The unions insist that this is not adequate to keep the Swiss economy afloat. They have suggested tighter sanctions against wage dumping as well as the introduction of a minimum wage.

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