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Swiss employers warn against raising tax burden

Fritz Blaser urged businesses to live up to the their social responsibilities.

(Keystone)

The president of the Swiss Employers' Association says the economic recovery should not be used as a pretext to levy new or additional taxes.

Speaking at the Association's annual meeting in Berne, Fritz Blaser, said extra revenue should remain inside companies to the benefit of both employers and employees.

Blaser said he was pleased that for the first time in ten years, the meeting was taking place in a climate of confidence. "You as entrepreneurs and managers have obviously done your homework well. It is thanks to your expertise [and] energy… that the Swiss economy has achieved recovery after difficult years of restructuring."

He added that it was now up to members to "consolidate the strength of this recovery", and said the association's strategy for the coming years was based on helping this consolidation.

But his message about tax was clear: "The tax burden and additional spending for social security have reached levels that should no longer be exceeded," he said. "It is no longer worth working if we continue the way we have been behaving."

He said that recent threats of strike action found little echo among many workers because they felt there was solidarity within their companies. He added that employee loyalty was a prerequisite for success and he urged employers to promote training and allow workers more opportunity to shape company policy.

He also warned companies to resist the desire for quick profits, saying that this created a climate of mistrust and uncertainty. "A long-term strategy is of much more use to shareholders than a short-sighted maximisation of profits," he said.

During his speech, Blaser criticised entrepreneurial mistakes and in particular large payouts to managers who left companies. "We employers cannot really accept giving out millions of francs for failed management and at the same time dash the unions' demand for a minimum wage of SFr3,000 for around 160 hours of hard labour," he said.

by Robert Brookes

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