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Unions vow to fight for social security

The Trade Union Federation has promised to oppose any attempts to boost consumers’ purchasing power that involve cutting old age and unemployment insurance schemes.

“Never in Swiss history has there been such an attack by centre-right and rightwing parties against the achievements of the welfare state,” said federation president Paul Rechsteiner.

He was referring to planned cuts in the unemployment insurance and the state old age pension systems as well as proposed reductions in the occupational pension scheme to come to a nationwide vote in March.

A fundamental challenge of social security threatens the economic stability of the majority of the population, Rechsteiner warned at a news conference on Tuesday.

He called for the introduction of a 50 per cent tax on bonus payments, similar to Britain and France, which would generate an estimated SFr2 billion ($1.94 billion) in revenue to help low-income earners.

The federation’s chief economist, Daniel Lampart, warned Switzerland risked damaging social justice between the rich and the less fortunate if the government and parliament pursued their economic and labour policy.

The federation, which includes 16 trade unions with a total of 380,000 members, forecast 0.3 per cent economic growth, a jobless rate of 5.2 per cent and 0.7 per cent inflation this year.

Urs Geiser,

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