Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Unions decry ‘lack of respect’ for women in labour market

Shoes of a businessman and a businesswoman
Pension payments for women in Switzerland were about CHF1,000 ($1,100) below those of men according to 2019 statistics. Keystone/Peter Schneider

Two years after a massive strike by women, the Trade Union Federation has criticised the perceived lack of progress on equal pay, pensions and labour conditions between men and women in Switzerland.

It described as “scandalous” and “lousy” the situation for working women two years after the largest political demonstration in recent Swiss history.

“It will take 80 years to close the gap between men and women [in the labour market] if things are not speeded up,” a statement said on Monday.

The federation also warned of further discrimination if a centre-right majority in parliament approves a reform of the state old-age pension scheme.

Parliament is due to resume debate about the reform on Wednesday.

Higher retirement age

The government argues a legal amendment is needed to stabilise the system as contributions and pension payments are increasingly out of balance.

It has proposed raising the retirement age for women from 64 to 65 – in line with that of men – and increasing value added tax.

The trade union federationExternal link, representing about 20 unions with about 370,000 members, has planned a nationwide protest next week to draw attention to the persistent inequalities.

Ten days ago the federation handed in the necessary signatures for a people’s initiative. It is aimed at introducing an extra pension payment per year – similar to a 13th-month salary common in many sectors in Switzerland.


In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here . Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR