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Trade unions raise stakes in battle with employers

Trade unions in Switzerland are refusing to threatening to call a strike over a pay dispute with employers in the construction industry. The warning comes after the employers rejected a compromise deal reached last year.

This content was published on January 26, 2000 - 18:01

Trade unions in Switzerland are refusing to resume negotiations on a pay dispute with employers in the construction industry, after the employers rejected a compromise reached last year. The unions said they would organise strikes in April, if their demands were not met by then.

Vasco Pedrina, the president of the Industry and Construction union, said there was no point entering a 13th round of talks to discuss a compromise, which had already been reached. He said the employers' decision to go back on the deal earlier this month was a barely concealed "declaration of war".

Under the compromise, construction workers were to receive a wage increase of SFr100 a month from January 1.

However, Pedrina emphasised that not all employers had been uncooperative. The Batigroup and Zschokke companies have agreed to stick to the compromise and introduced the pay rises. But Pedrina warned that firms which had fought against the agreement would be targeted for action.

He named the worst culprits as Buchmann in Zurich, Kaufmann in Rheintal, Nussbaumer in Basel, and Huldi in Berne.

Pedrina said their rejection of the compromise accord was above all a rejection of the social contract.

From staff and wire reports

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