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Survey finds retail salaries drop below subsistence level

In general, talking about wages and salaries is taboo in Swiss public life. But the retail sales and hotel and catering trade unions are now mounting a campaign to increase minimum salary levels.

This content was published on November 23, 1999 - 16:52

Autumn is the season when unions and employers in Switzerland try to thrash out new agreements on pay and conditions.

In general, talking about wages and salaries is taboo in Swiss public life. But the retail sales and hotel and catering trade unions are now mounting a campaign to increase minimum salary levels.

A recent survey shows that almost half of the unskilled workers in the hotel and catering sector earn less than SFr3000 Swiss per month.

This is hardly subsistence level and is said to be the reason for more "working poor" in Switzerland.

Worst affected are unskilled foreign and women workers.

VHTL and UNIA, the two main trade unions in the retailing and catering sectors, are hopeful they will get a new pay agreement with the country's two top retailers Migros and Coop. The two companies together employ well over 100,000 workers.

From SRI staff.

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