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Top manager salaries lambasted in parliament

The House of Representatives have held extensive discussions on ways to combat excessive manager salaries and give more of a say to shareholders on the issue.

It rejected a proposal by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party for a legal reform and voted instead to pursue plans for a constitutional amendment to come to a nationwide vote.

Thursday’s initial debate was marked by mutual accusations between the People’s Party and the centre-right Radical Party against the centre-left Social Democrats, the Greens and the centre-right Christian Democrats.

“The People’s Party is afraid of the people. The fundamental policy contradictions have become very obvious,” said Social Democrat Jacqueline Fehr.

However, Toni Brunner, president of the People’s Party, accused the left of blocking a swift and effective solution.

“The left tries to pull the wool over the eyes of its voters,” he replied.

The debate is due to continue in parliament next week. Observers say the issue could be high on the political agenda for the 2011 election campaign.

The initiative by a businessman, Thomas Minder, aims at granting increased powers to shareholders and capping the salaries of company board members and top management.

It was prompted by several cases of excessive payoffs for top managers while companies suffered financial setbacks or collapsed, including the former national carrier, Swissair.

Urs Geiser,


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