Wage dumping discovered at Swiss Post building site

The construction site involved was at a Swiss Post package sorting facility Keystone

This content was published on October 19, 2014 - 16:47 and agencies

A construction site for the Swiss Post has found to be engaging in wage dumping, paying foreign workers less than half the amount they are entitled to under Swiss law.

Ivano Marraffino, a regional spokesperson for the UNIA trade union in canton Solothurn where the incident occurred, confirmed a report in the SonntagsBlick newspaper detailing wage dumping. The Swiss Post gave the contract for the construction work at one of its package sorting facilities to a company in the Netherlands, which then outsourced it further to  construction firms from Germany, Slovenia and Poland.

Those firms then hired workers from outside Switzerland to work on the construction site for the Post. Six of the workers affected by wage dumping worked for the German firm, while three worked for the Polish firm and five for the Slovenian firm.

The official work contract for the Post requires workers to be paid a minimum of CHF20.40 ($21) per hour. However, the workers in this case earned only between CHF7.50 and CHF14 per hour, depending on the subcontractor they worked for. In total, the workers affected earned about CHF180,000 less than they should have since their work on the site began.

“As a federal operation and building owner, the Post must exercise their duty of supervision and compliance with wage requirements,” Marraffino said, adding that if the wages due to the workers are not paid by the subcontractors, the Post would be liable for making up the difference.

Bernhard Bürki, a spokesperson for the Post, said the organisation was surprised by the revelations. He said the incident would be looked into and that the necessary steps would be taken to make it right. He added the agreement with the subcontractors clearly stated that Swiss labour and wage laws must be respected.



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