Swiss turn down world’s highest minimum wage

May 18, 2014 1:03 pm
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Members of "Generation Basic Income" pose with eight million Swiss five cent coins in a vault on December 3, 2013 in Basel/AFP
Members of “Generation Basic Income” pose with eight million Swiss five cent coins in a vault on December 3, 2013 in Basel/AFP

, GENEVA, May 18 – Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a proposed hourly minimum wage of $25 (Sh2,188) – which would have been the world’s highest – in one of the planet’s priciest nations, a polling agency said.

Only 23 percent of Swiss voters came out in favour of introducing a minimum wage in Switzerland so high it could pass for mid-management pay elsewhere, the gfs.bern polling institute said in a projection of Sunday’s referendum results.

Voters also appeared likely to nix a multi-billion-dollar deal, a decade in the making, to buy fighter jets from Sweden, while they overwhelmingly supported measures to ban paedophiles from working with children. READ: Swiss vote on world’s highest minimum wage.

Much of the national debate ahead of the referendums, which are held every three months in Switzerland as part of the country’s direct democratic system, has focused on the pros and cons of introducing a minimum wage.

The “Decent Salary” initiative insists that at least 22 Swiss francs ($25, 18 euros) an hour, or 4,000 francs (Sh392,422) a month, is needed to get by in the wealthy Alpine nation.

Backers of the initiative want Switzerland to go from having no minimum wage to boasting the world’s highest, far above the $7.25 in the United States, 9.43 euros in France, 5.05 euros in Spain and the recently agreed 8.50 euros in Germany, set to take effect next year.

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