Initiative launched on public sector profits

Public sector companies should use their profits to improve customer services rather than pay them into state coffers, consumer organisations believe.

This content was published on March 6, 2012 - 17:12 and agencies

Several consumer magazines have got together to launch a people’s initiative that would ensure that the large profits made by companies like the Federal Railways and Swisscom are reinvested, and would also align the salaries they pay with those paid to employees in the federal administration.

The initiative was presented to the media in Bern on Tuesday by the magazines K-Tipp, Saldo, Bon à Savoir and Spendere Meglio, which support consumers in the different language areas of Switzerland. It is the first time they have launched an initiative.

They say customers have to put up with closed desks, dirty trains, fewer mail collections, and higher prices, despite the fact that the companies are making large profits.

“The state should not be allowed to raise indirect taxes from the excessive charges made by the Post, Federal Railways and Swisscom,“ they say.

The initiative is also aimed at salaries, in particular those of the managers. The campaigners find it unacceptable that the head of Swisscom, for example, earns about four times as much as a minister.

A poll carried out by K-Tipp in German- and French-speaking Switzerland found that nearly 77 per cent of people were unhappy with the high salaries earned by the managers of public sector companies. However the staff who have direct contact with customers got good marks.

The magazines have until the end of August 2013 to collect the 100,000 signatures needed to put the initiative to a nationwide vote.

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