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Building conflict set to be resolved

Employers and building trade unions have agreed on a new collective labour agreement ending months of conflict over flexible work hours and salaries.

The unions, who represent 80,000 workers, staged a series of protests and strikes at major building sites across the country in the past half-year.

Both sides came out in favour of a compromise system for flexible working hours and a slight salary increase, senior union officials said.

The new agreement, which still needs to be approved by delegates of both parties, is due to come into force next February for about three years.

The economics ministry appointed a mediator after negotiations broke down in October prompting strikes – a rare occurrence in Switzerland.

The employers association accused worker representatives of blocking a solution for more flexible working practices.

Some unions threatened to challenge a labour accord with new European Union member states Romania and Bulgaria, jeopardising bilateral relations with the 27-nation bloc.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR