Unions defy reports of economic downturn 

The leading members of the Trade Union Federation with President Maillard (centre) present the salary demands at a news conference. Keystone/Peter Schneider
This content was published on September 6, 2019 - 15:16

Switzerland’s main trade unions have called for a 2% salary increase and an additional CHF50 ($50) payment for women in low-paid jobs. 

Ahead of regular negotiations with employers’ associations from different industry and service sectors, the Trade Union Federation says the hike is necessary to compensate for inflation and the growing costs of mandatory health insurance premiums. 

Union president Pierre-Yves Maillard said ignoring these facts would lead to further widening of the gap between the rich and the less well-off. He was speaking at a news conference in Bern on Friday. 

The union umbrella group argues its demands are justified despite an uncertain economic outlook in Switzerland for next year. It said the current situation was better than often described and that many companies had full order books and needed additional staff. 

The federation says it is high time to reduce salary discrepancies between men and women following the public protests in June. 

On Thursday, the independent research institute BAK Economics lowered its growth forecast to 0.7% from 1.2% for next year, while the government’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs recorded a slight drop in economic growth over the past three months. 

The main reasons cited are increasing uncertainty and a weakening economy in Europe. 

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