Swiss civil servants are appealing to voters to block government plans to reform the public service. They have forced a referendum on the proposed Federal Personnel Law, which they say threatens their wages and job security.
The main public service association handed in a petition to parliament on Thursday with more than 94,000 signatures, protesting at the proposed reforms.
Under Swiss law, 50,000 signatures are needed to force a referendum opposing a change in law, and the issue will now go to a nationwide vote on November 26.
Civil servants say the new law would damage public services and lead to lower wages, longer working hours and less job security.
Opposition to the proposals was strongest in Italian- and French-speaking regions where more than half of the signatures were gathered. In canton Ticino nearly 14,000 signed the petition; in the French cantons the number was 35,000. Most signatures in German-speaking Switzerland came from Zurich and Berne.
The petition was supported by a wide cross-section of public sector workers, including railway workers, post office employees, customs and excise personnel, the police, rubbish collectors and civil servants.
Green groups and the Federation of Trade Unions also came out in support of referendum.
In a statement the finance ministry said the "Federal Personnel Law" needed to be modernised since it dated from 1927. It also maintained the proposed new law would guarantee secure employment for public service workers.
swissinfo with agencies
In compliance with the JTI standards