Swiss Post and the Communication Union have agreed to new talks next week, following a strike on Thursday by postal workers worried about lower pay.This content was published on November 26, 2004 - 17:01
The union says it has suspended industrial action for the time being, after Swiss Post agreed to discuss a compromise proposal put forward by workers’ representatives.
At the heart of the dispute – and the strike action – is a plan by Swiss Post to set up independent subsidiaries to carry out some of its operations.
The union says such a move would result in pay cuts of 20 per cent for around 270 staff, in breach of the collective labour contract agreed earlier this year.
It wants Swiss Post to scrap the plans, and in return would agree to consider the new company structure when the collective labour agreement is renewed in 2006.
The union added that all industrial action would be stopped but would restart if negotiations failed.
The announcement comes at the end of a difficult week which saw increasing acrimony between Post bosses and the workers union.
Earlier this week, an attempt to bring the two sides to the negotiating table - by Communications Minister Moritz Leuenberger – failed, leading to the strike action on Thursday morning.
Around 200 postal workers blocked four sorting offices for about five hours. The actions was condemned by Swiss Post management, which later filed a formal complaint to the independent Conciliation Committee, saying the strike was in breach of the same collective contract.
Ulrich Gygi, head of Swiss Post, said at the time that despite the complaint, management was still ready for dialogue.
He also rejected claims that Swiss Post was planning to cut salaries, breaching the new working agreement.
swissinfo with agencies
In a parallel development, it was announced on Friday that postal employees would receive a pay rise in 2005 of around one per cent.
All employees subject to the collective labour agreement should receive a bonus of SFr300.
But this is subject to Swiss Post making a profit of SFr500 million ($438 million) said Swiss Post and the Communication Union.