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Swiss vote on introducing highest minimum wage in the world

  • The Swiss are going to the polls today to vote on whether to approve a minimum wage of 22 francs ($25) an hour, which would be the highest in the world.
  • The measure would affect the one-in-ten workers who earn below the 4,000 francs that the initiative stipulates.
  • Businesses are against the union-backed proposal, saying it would force more people into part-time jobs and increase Switzerland's 3.2% unemployment rate. Polls show 64% of voters are against the initiative.
  • Still, major corporations that could be affected include UBS (UBS), Credit Suisse (CS), Roche (RHHBY), Novartis (NVS), ABB (ABB), Glencore Xstrata (GLCNF) and Nestle (NSRGY).
  • The referendum is the latest nationwide ballot relating to business. In March last year, voters authorized giving shareholders more say over executive pay but rejected a measure in November to cap management salaries.
  • The Swiss are also voting today over whether to spend 3.1B francs on 22 new Saab (SAABF) fighter jets.
  • ETFs: FXF, EWL, FSZ
Comments (38)
  • TAS
    , contributor
    Comments (1983) | Send Message
     
    It will never pass.

     

    1. The Swiss are not stupid.
    2. They won't pay more to have other cultures invade their borders and pollute a successful homogeneous society at the enhanced minimum wage.
    18 May, 10:04 AM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (3122) | Send Message
     
    "They won't pay more to have other cultures invade their borders and pollute a successful homogeneous society at the enhanced minimum wage"

     

    Considering swiss immigration policy, that won't be an issue. Very hard to get in now, with or without the higher wage
    18 May, 10:11 AM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    It just goes to show you can't pay your way out of poverty. If you raise minimum wage you only increase inflation by that much, it all offsets itself in the end its retarded to think a loaf of bread won't go from $1.00 to $5.00.
    18 May, 10:32 AM Reply Like
  • konihug
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    The result is in, and it could not be much clearer: 76,3% voted against this initative. As a Swiss citizen, I do not feel too proud about the result, but I am very happy that we can vote regularly on issues such as this one.

     

    Another vote was more interesting, even: today, 53,4% voted against buying new fighter jets for the Swiss Airforce. I think we are extremely fortunate to live in a country where every citizen has a saying in important matters. Needless to say, there are always winners and losers in this pocess, but these votes are a sign we live in a very healthy democracy.
    18 May, 11:16 AM Reply Like
  • Flux
    , contributor
    Comments (32) | Send Message
     
    I am simply amazed that democracy exists anywhere. Crony capitalism and oligarchies have destroyed the USA.

     

    Please protect what you have, it is increasingly rare in this world.
    18 May, 02:53 PM Reply Like
  • jhooper
    , contributor
    Comments (5324) | Send Message
     
    "minimum wage of 22 francs ($25) an hour"

     

    That's all? It needs to be at least the equivalent of $150/hr. How can they call $25/hr a living wage. People can't live on that. It just goes to show that whoever suggested $25/hr just doesn't care because they are selfish.
    18 May, 11:58 AM Reply Like
  • konihug
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    @jhooper. If you consider cost of living in Switzerland, a minimum monthly salary of CHF 4000 (roughly USD 4400), or 22 Francs per hour is a fair amount. Please consider this: My son was working as a dishwasher for a short time in a restaurant nearby. He was paid 18 Francs per hour. For a short time, he was working on a construction site as an unlearned hand, making roughly 29 Francs (USD 32+) per hour. He was 18 at that time, two years ago, and we live in the mountains, in an area that is considered as one of the cheaper ones in the country.

     

    If you take these numbers into account, 22 Francs seem to just be a normal salary here. Nothing outrageous. The problem starts when you compare minimum wages in different countries and don't know the cost of living here. True, we enjoy a very high standard of living, generally, in this country. And true, people in cleaning jobs, restaurants and hotels, etc, often do not get the 22 Francs per hour. Mainly they are foreigners. So, this vote, supported by the left wing parties and unions, was meant to improve the salaries of these people.
    18 May, 01:20 PM Reply Like
  • jhooper
    , contributor
    Comments (5324) | Send Message
     
    "was meant to improve the salaries of these people. "

     

    It doesn't sound like it. If you think 22 Francs is fair, then you don't care about the people you claim to care about. 22 Fancs is slave wages. You right wingers need to have a heart. Its not a living wage. Trying to squeeze these people for the benefits of the 1% is a horrible thing. 200 Francs is the only fair thing to do. The Swiss should move to enact this as soon as possible.
    18 May, 02:09 PM Reply Like
  • konihug
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    jhooper, you seem to be joking.
    18 May, 03:03 PM Reply Like
  • jhooper
    , contributor
    Comments (5324) | Send Message
     
    What's wrong with 220 Francs an hour? Are you saying you don't want them to have that?
    18 May, 03:22 PM Reply Like
  • Rich in Quebec
    , contributor
    Comments (4248) | Send Message
     
    konihug - Some right-wingers in the U.S. seem to believe that the rejection of an equivalent U.S. $25 per hour somehow justifies the U.S. remaining at $7.25. A similar vote in Bangladesh would likely have these people insisting on the U.S. minimum wage declining to a third world level.
    18 May, 01:38 PM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (3122) | Send Message
     
    Some GOPs are actually for it..... Santorum, Romney, etc.

     

    That being said, there is data from the nonpartisan CBO to show that it will cause 500K to lose their jobs. It's a tough issue
    18 May, 04:50 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    Romney said $10. As a right winger, I am for labor regulations adding Overtime for salary workers who do over 40 hours of work and night differential of 15% for working past 4pm shifts. As well as 30 days of paid sick leave and vacation time.
    18 May, 05:08 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (3573) | Send Message
     
    Matt,

     

    I would have loved that, when I was in a salaried position. :) Don't you think the pay rate for salaried employees would decrease, considering the overtime pay requirement? I know I regularly pulled 70-80 hour weeks when I was salaried... I would have become rich! :)
    18 May, 05:12 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    I think it would force employers to reduce hours or increase staffing or both! Negative impact will be on the employer, not the employee who must suffer unfair stress and work load because his boss gets a bonus for keeping labor costs down.

     

    Maybe I should run for office based on this platform.
    18 May, 05:48 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (3573) | Send Message
     
    I think you would find that they would split the job between two, 40-hour/week salaried positions at a drastic pay cut. I say this, because I know that's what would have happened where I was working, if such regulations were put into place.
    18 May, 05:56 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    More people on the payroll. But because you are working the extra hours, you are being fleeced for your time. They are probably only paying 25% extra in your salary than what you are worth. So yes you would get a cut, but now you get differential for your night hours and increased paid leave. Pay cut but you get much more in terms of benefits.
    18 May, 06:29 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (3573) | Send Message
     
    That's great for older folks. When I was salaried, I was in my 20's & early 30's - I was hungry, full of energy, and wanted money. I would have kept the same sh!tty hours to avoid a decrease in my pay. It was (or would have been) a gateway position to bigger and better things.

     

    40-hour salaried positions at junk pay will "get what you paid for".
    18 May, 06:35 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    John

     

    They are abusing lax rules, the rules are...salaried employees work 40 hours, period. Now salary means, work for free 10-20 hours extra per week, 2 weeks of vacation and no sick days. Are you trying to convince me that 25% increase in pay is worth more than being paid a night differential, and a reasonable amount of paid time off? You were ripped off, and you don't even know it.
    18 May, 06:46 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (3573) | Send Message
     
    I knew exactly what I was getting. I used to tell my employees (when they would grumble about raises, etc.) that they were making more than me on an hourly basis.

     

    If the difference is between getting that 25% more or not, yes - it makes it worth it.

     

    I applied for the position. The position was laid out before me, with all it entailed. The position was offered to me at an agreed upon pay rate. Everyone was happy.

     

    At that time (upon being hired), I immediately was gunning for my boss's job, and was happy to have the opportunity to "pay my dues" to get it.
    18 May, 07:30 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    Ok, that's fine you agree to get underpaid. But what I don't understand is, you are making a judgment, that laying out a regulation about fair labor practice is somehow detrimental. These were norms 25 years ago that corporations have done away with, because they find nitwits that are willing to do more for less. Now the norm is what you describe.
    18 May, 08:19 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (3573) | Send Message
     
    It is what it is TODAY. I would rather have more money than less. Laying out your regs would decrease the amount people make that are salaried (granted, they will work less hours, but they will also make less money). I don't see what's so hard to understand...

     

    I may have gotten underpaid on an hourly basis, but on a yearly gross, I made good money. I did not want to have two jobs to make the same amount.
    18 May, 09:10 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    Your rationale is why corporations do what they do.

     

    Look we have come to an inflection point where the people with the money are holding too much power over the not so free market. There was a time when people were willing to reject a job offer because they had a few better offers in the works. However in today's economy, the company holds all the cards because there is a line of desperate people wanting the same job willing to undercut themselves just to get it. This environment calls for an entity to lay out some fair rules.

     

    All sectors of business have regulations, this kind would not restrict business in the least and it certainly would be beneficial and at worse, benign to workers.
    18 May, 11:42 PM Reply Like
  • jhooper
    , contributor
    Comments (5324) | Send Message
     
    "Look we have come to an inflection point where the people with the money are holding too much power over the not so free market."

     

    Talk is cheap. Its time for action.

     

    What we need is a Compassion Registery. This will be an opportunity for everyone that believes in a gov imposed minimum wage to stop just complaining and actually do something.

     

    Here's how it will work. Everyone that believes in a gov imposed minimum wage will be required to contribute whatever additional amount that would be necessary to raise everyone currently at the mininum wage to a wage level that is commensurate with $25/hr.

     

    The fund will distribute each month to all employees currently at the minium wage level an amount sufficient to raise them to $25/hr. By doing this, the supporters of the gov minimum wage will no longer have to wait for somebody else to "do something". They will be able to "do something" right now.

     

    In fact, I'm suprised they haven't already done this. Based on how much they care, you would have thought they would have already taken action to allievate the suffering of all those left behind. I mean, imagine, how much richer they would all have been by redistributing their earnings in solidarity with those they wish to help. The additional aggregate demand they would have stimulated would have made them all wealthy by now.

     

    There clearly is no more reason to wait. I would expect the Compassion Registry to be up and running by the end of next month, with the first distribution beginning the month after that. Finally, something will be done, and the problem will have been solved.
    19 May, 12:25 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    Jhooper

     

    That is the worst idea I have ever heard. I completely disagree with you and distance myself from your position whole heartedly. I am not proposing Socialist policy in the least.

     

    A compassion registry? What is that supposed to be, is that like The Department of Peace?

     

    What I am proposing are mild tweaking of the current and existing labor regulation that already is in place. We need to get back to basics when it comes to fair compensation where the mega corporations have taken advantage of the labor force.

     

    What I propose would actually weaken the labor Union's position substantially. They will have less to bargain for because they will get most of what they want anyway.
    19 May, 12:33 PM Reply Like
  • jhooper
    , contributor
    Comments (5324) | Send Message
     
    "I completely disagree with you and distance myself from your position whole heartedly"

     

    Then you are against Compassion. It's time to stop talking and start acting. You had a lot of big talk before. It looks like that is fading pretty fast.

     

    "We need to get back to basics when it comes to fair compensation where the mega corporations have taken advantage of the labor force."

     

    What is more basic that everyone being part of one big family where everyone takes care of one another. That is as basic as it gets. In fact, its how people lived thousands of years ago. You were attempting to express solidarity with the down trodden workers, and now suddenly you don't want to act?

     

    You need to realize that by contributing you will spark aggregate demand, which will make you richer. Add to that your diminished wealth, and that will provide an extra incentive for you to work harder and to earn that wealth back. When you do, we can take that, redistribute it, and then repeat the cycle. This will also keep you from getting too wealthy, which will then close the income gaps.

     

    Its a win win. You get richer, and the people you should have solidarity with will get richer, and you will still take the steam out of the unions sails, because they will get most of what they want anyways.
    19 May, 12:43 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    "Then you are against Compassion"

     

    You can't accuse someone of being against compassion. That is what the liberals now do, they say if you disagree with me, you are mean and uncaring. My entire position is compassionate, caring and fair.

     

    "What is more basic that everyone being part of one big family (hello communist) where everyone takes care of one another."

     

    You are trying to mask your blatant communistic rhetoric without actually saying it.

     

    "Its a win win. You get richer, and the people you should have solidarity with will get richer, and you will still take the steam out of the unions sails, because they will get most of what they want anyways."

     

    It's a lose lose, as it has been proven over and over again in Russia, North Korea, Cuba, and soon...China, which is the last dog standing.

     

    Again, my proposal has nothing to do with what you are talking about please don't jump into my points as if they are on your side of the argument.

     

    Please stop hijacking a legitimate discussion with your outlandish Marxist views. If there is anyone else willing to discuss my points, please post so we can continue without the distractions.
    19 May, 12:57 PM Reply Like
  • jhooper
    , contributor
    Comments (5324) | Send Message
     
    "My entire position is compassionate, caring and fair."

     

    Oh, really?

     

    "I am for labor regulations adding Overtime for salary workers who do over 40 hours of work and night differential of 15% for working past 4pm shifts. As well as 30 days of paid sick leave and vacation time. "

     

    This is peanuts. You can't expect people to live under such oppressive conditions. Overtime should begin after 20 hours and the nightly differential should be 50% for working past 2pm shifts. In addition people need at least 180 days of paid sick leave and vacation time.

     

    "You are trying to mask your blatant communistic rhetoric without actually saying it."

     

    Fascinating.

     

    "It's a lose lose"

     

    You are clearly not up to speed with the latest economic theory. All we have to do is take a little extra from you (after all you don't really need it), and it will come back to you.

     

    Look, if you implement the gov regulation, the mega corps will either have to raise prices, cut costs somewhere else, fire people, or just have their stocks adjusted to lower values. Higher prices will hit your pocket book, cutting costs will mean lower earnings for vendors (so their equity values will go down or they lay people off), firing means more gov spending via unemployment benefits, and lower equities means a reduced equity market and a turning away of investment in the US.

     

    Either way, you are going to have to pay for it. You might as well go ahead and do it now. As I said, its time to make up your mind. You have to decide if you are just going to cut bait or go home. If you are just talking, you are not compassionate. Its time for you to put your money where your mouth is.

     

    19 May, 01:11 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    Outrageous psycho-talk.

     

    Like you act, or put your money where your mouth is.
    19 May, 01:41 PM Reply Like
  • jhooper
    , contributor
    Comments (5324) | Send Message
     
    "My entire position is compassionate, caring and fair."

     

    Then its time to prove it. As I said, talk is cheap, or is your caring rhetorical only?
    19 May, 01:50 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    Explain to me what you have done? You are hot air, what do you do exactly with no bio at all?
    19 May, 02:56 PM Reply Like
  • jhooper
    , contributor
    Comments (5324) | Send Message
     
    I'm amazed at how fast you are backing off your "compassionate", "caring", and "fair" positions, and are now suggesting that other people don't have a right to your property.
    19 May, 03:06 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Davis
    , contributor
    Comments (3666) | Send Message
     
    Jhooper

     

    I wont engage you any longer, you are so far out there.
    19 May, 04:04 PM Reply Like
  • jhooper
    , contributor
    Comments (5324) | Send Message
     
    Its always easy to be compassionate with other people's property. However, when it comes to your own, suddenly that's "so far out there".
    19 May, 04:22 PM Reply Like
  • Rich in Quebec
    , contributor
    Comments (4248) | Send Message
     
    J Hooper - Personal charity does little in the face of those so greedy that they would suggest a mechanism for others to compensate for their avarice. At least the historic Mafia would contribute a little themselves into the pot to help the worse off living in a society that they had corrupted. You would exclude yourself from such contributions.
    19 May, 05:06 PM Reply Like
  • jhooper
    , contributor
    Comments (5324) | Send Message
     
    "Personal charity"

     

    I'm not talking about charity. I'm talking about solidarity. Its easy to whine about the mafia and mega corporations, but people are hurting now. So something needs to be done. All I'm doing is just suggesting the lastest economic theories be employed by those advocating for them to prove how well they work.

     

    If you really are rich in Quebec, you need to let these suffering people to have access to your wealth. If we save just one person, wouldn't that be worth it?
    19 May, 05:16 PM Reply Like
  • sethmcs
    , contributor
    Comments (3067) | Send Message
     
    I must be so far out in right field that I am out of the ballpark. I do not believe the government has any business dictating what the minimum wage should be. After all it is a private transaction between employer and employee.
    18 May, 05:59 PM Reply Like
  • Rich in Quebec
    , contributor
    Comments (4248) | Send Message
     
    sethmcs - That was the argument in the 19th century. And based on that "private transaction" concept, a labor union arguing for higher wages was a conspiracy in restraint of trade, and therefore acting illegally.
    19 May, 12:14 PM Reply Like
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