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Pension cuts widely opposed

The Swiss people are set to decide whether pensions should be reduced after opponents of a cut gathered enough support to call a nationwide vote.

This content was published on April 8, 2009 - 17:10

A number of leftwing groups and consumers' organisations delivered more than 200,000 signatures to the Federal Chancellery in Bern on Wednesday, over four times as many as are required.

The Chancellery must now check that the votes are genuine. Opponents of any law passed by parliament can seek to overturn it in a referendum, which must be called if they can gather the support of at least 50,000 voters within 100 days.

Parliament approved an amendment to the pension law in December. The Unia trade union, which launched the referendum, says it would mean a ten per cent cut in pensions in comparison with today.

This would result in many pensioners being in need, it claims.

The union blames pension funds for having lost money through bad investments, and says pensioners should not have to bear the brunt alone.

Centre-right parties support the reduction, as the only way to ensure the survival of the pension scheme as life expectancy increases and returns on investments are likely to fall in the long run.

swissinfo with agencies

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