Wage dumping held in check

Is cheap labour needed to keep the construction industry rolling? Keystone

The economics ministry says measures introduced to prevent Swiss companies taking advantage of cheaper labour from the European Union are proving effective.

This content was published on April 1, 2005

The measures were introduced to accompany the free movement of people agreement with the European Union, which has raised fears of wage dumping.

Friday’s government report comes two months after trade unions accused cantons and employers of not doing enough to protect working conditions and minimum salaries.

However, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) said it was "satisfied" the measures were being implemented.

They include a new federal law on minimum pay and working conditions, and on collective labour agreements.

Seco conducted its review between June and December of last year. It said that after a slow start, inspections were stepped up in the last three months of 2004.

Construction industry

Around 14,000 checks were carried out over the whole period, uncovering breaches of the labour law in six per cent of the cases, mainly in the construction and hospitality industries.

In its report, Seco said the number of new EU citizens seeking jobs in Switzerland had not exceeded expectations.

The treaty on the free movement of people entered into force in 2002. But EU citizens have only been on an equal footing with Swiss nationals for jobs since June of last year, and will remain subject to quotas until 2007.

A nationwide vote will be held in September on extending the treaty to the 15 new EU member states.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Treaty on free movement of people entered into force on June 1, 2002.
Two years later, priority for Swiss nationals was abolished, and measures to prevent wage dumping introduced.
Quotas for EU citizens will be lifted in 2007 for a seven-year trial period.
Swiss to vote in September on extending treaty to new EU member states.

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