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All round compromise Concrete deal reached in construction industry row

Construction workers took to the streets to protest in the name of getting a better deal at work

(Keystone)

After protests by construction workers around the country in November saw hundreds of building sites fall silent, a new general contract governing working conditions has been agreed on by the unions and employers.

The Swiss Builder’s Association had wanted an existing contract to continue into 2016, but the unions Unia and Syna wanted wage negotiations, the financing for pensions at the age of 60 and measures in favour of better health protection and against undercutting salary levels.

Many industries in Switzerland have a general working contract that lays out the terms of employment for a whole sector. There are 80,000 construction workers who have their working conditions set out by such an agreement, which would have run out at the end of 2015.

The new deal will last until 2018, and has secured the option of retiring at the age of 60. Contributions into a retirement fund will be raised by 2 percentage points to enable this. The employer will pay 1.5% more, and employees 0.5% more. However, in return, employees have to accept that there will be no general pay rise in 2016.

In a joint statement, the Swiss Builder’s Association, Unia and Syna said that all sides had made a compromise, and negotiated on their original claims. Once the decision-making bodies on both sides have given the agreement their final approval, it will come into force on January 1, 2016.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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