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Labour market Unions urge equal rights for temporary workers

At the reception desk of a regional Swiss employment agency

Commercial employment agencies say temporary work opportunities help many people find regular jobs. 

(© Keystone/Gaetan Bally)

Trade unions in Switzerland have called for restrictions on temporary work and measures to improve labour conditions for employees hired for a limited period.

This form of employment has grown five-fold since 1995 and makes up 2.6% of the total work volume – or an estimated 380,000 people – according to the Trade Union Federationexternal link.

Its president, Pierre-Yves Maillard, said that temporary workers are often paid lower salaries and don’t benefit from the labour rights granted to regular employees.

He acknowledged that the situation had improved for many temporary workers in recent years due to collective work contracts in several sectors, but he stressed that they were hired for dangerous jobs and often there were not options for further training.

The federation called on the Swiss government and the cantonal authorities to set limits for temporary workers as well as improved monitoring.

However, the association of Swiss employment agenciesexternal link has rejected the proposal, saying restrictions were unrealistic and temporary work was in demand in industrialised countries.

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