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Labour market Over two million Swiss are covered by collective labour contracts

Striking worker

Collective labour agreements are negotiated between employers’ associations and trade unions.

(Keystone/Peter Schneider)

More than two million workers in Switzerland have jobs covered by a collective labour agreement which guarantees a minimum wage, the Federal Statistical Office reported on Monday.

According to the office, 2,066,550 workers (out of a total working population of 4.7 million) are employed under the terms and conditions of 600 different collective labour agreements. Almost half of all employees work in industries or sectors offering collective labour agreements with binding regulations. The statistics refer to the situation in March 2016.

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Under collective labour agreements, the employers’ associations negotiate working terms and conditions with staff and their trade unions. The agreements cover issues ranging from the start and termination periods for individual contracts, working hours, holidays, benefits and the right to professional on-the-job training.

Salary scales are also regulated by collective labour agreements. The statistics office found that almost 1.8 million employees have the right to a minimum wage under these contracts. The service sector employs most people under such agreements  (1.2 million), followed by manufacturing industries, which have about half as many employees.

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