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Trade unions call for fewer hours, more gender equality

dishwasher assembly line
Employees should also benefit from increased productivity, say trade unions. Pictured here is the dishwasher assembly line at the V-ZUG factory in Zug, Switzerland. © KEYSTONE / GAETAN BALLY

The Swiss Trade Union Federation is demanding shorter work weeks, compensation for pension losses and enforcement of equal pay for men and women. 

At its annual media conference in Bern on Thursday, the Swiss Trade Union FederationExternal link pointed out that employees have been suffering since the financial crisis. Now that things are looking up economically, employers should ensure that employees benefit as well, it says. 

+ The average full-time employee in Switzerland logs 41 hours and 10 minutes per week 

For example, profits from improved productivity should be passed on to employees in the form of higher wages and shorter working hours. According to the federation, the average full-time worker in Switzerland has been putting in an extra half a week a year since 2013. The trade unions are also calling for more targeted support for job seekers from the federal and cantonal governments. 

In terms of pensions, employees should be compensated for losses suffered as well as for sharply rising health expenses. 

The trade unions also want a stronger version of the revised gender equality law proposed by the government. They say that this is the only way to ensure that employers pay men and women equal salaries for the same work.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR