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Cross-border workers Ticino initiative prioritising locals for jobs declared valid

In a nationwide ballot two years ago, voters in Ticino overwhelmingly backed a rightwing proposal to impose quotas on EU immigration

(Keystone)

A local Swiss People’s Party’s proposal demanding priority for natives over foreigners in the labour market in Ticino was declared valid by the cantonal parliament on Monday. The final text will have to be negotiated before being put to a popular vote. 

Baptised "Primi i nostri" or “Ours first”, the initiative seeks to ensure that Ticino natives get preference when competing for jobs against foreigners with the same qualifications. The objective is to ostensibly prevent companies from undercutting local wages by employing cross-border workers from neighbouring Italy on lower salaries. 

In April 2014, the initiative was handed in with more than the requisite 10,000 signatures. According to Ticino parliamentarian Sabrina Aldi, the legality of the initiative was confirmed by Giovanni Biaggini, a law professor at the University of Zurich. 

However, the law specialist expressed serious doubts about the application of such an initiative if it were successful.

The initiative’s author, former president of the Ticino arm of the Swiss People’s Party Gabriele Pinoja, stated that he was aware that it could enter into conflict with existing bilateral agreements. 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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