May 20, 2014 By

Swiss Voters Reject $25 Minimum Wage


Swiss voters have turned down a proposal to introduce the highest minimum wage in the world on Sunday in a referendum. According to the plan, the employers were supposed to pay workers a minimum 22 Swiss francs (about $25; £15; 18 euros) an hour.

The country’s election authority said that a preliminary tally showed 76% voted against the Minimum Wage Initiative, advocated by the Swiss Trades Union Confederation and 24% voted in favour. Supporters said the move was necessary for people to live a decent life and had argued that it would “protect equitable pay”. But the critics argued that it would raise production costs and increase unemployment. The Swiss government and business leaders had warned that the initiative would destroy jobs, affect lower skilled employees and make it harder for young people and others to enter the workforce.

Labor unions had campaigned for months to win public backing for a minimum hourly wage of 22 Swiss francs, or nearly $25. Switzerland, despite being a wealthy country with above average rates of growth and employment and relatively short working hours, doesn’t have a legitimate national minimum wage like other countries. Pay is set in negotiations between companies and individuals, or with employee representatives.

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