Trade unions criticise pay gap

The gap between the salaries of high and average wage earners is growing, according to a report released by the Swiss Trade Union Federation on Tuesday.

This content was published on April 26, 2011 minutes and agencies

Accounting for inflation, it seems that the highest-paid ten per cent of workers earn 10.3 per cent more than their lower-paid colleagues. The top 0.5 per cent even get an extra 28 per cent.

The federation made its conclusions based on Swiss salary data gathered between 1998 and 2008. It found that the number of people earning at least a million francs a year had more than quintupled – from 510 in 1997 to 2,824 in 2008.

During the decade in question, the gross domestic product increased by 9.1 per cent. Yet low and medium salaries only went up by two to four per cent.

Unevenly distributed bonus payments are partly to blame, says the federation. It noted that there was more fairness in organisations with collective labour agreements.

It is calling for adjustments in wage and tax policy, including a general increase in wages as well as a minimum wage of SFr22 ($25) an hour.

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