Swiss wine-growers reject proposals for a minimum wage in a bid to remain competitive

Thursday March 27 2014 by Vitisphere


“The profits made in Agriculture do not allow for an hourly wage of 22 Swiss francs” states the Swiss Chamber of Agriculture (an umbrella organisation which brings together 25 cantonal chambers and 60 industry organisations), rejecting the Swiss Federation of Trade Union’s proposal for a minimum wage.  The vote to introduce a minimum wage to Switzerland, which is set for 18th May in the Swiss Federal Council, has been the source of many heated debates between opponents.  On the one hand, there are those who believe that “in a strong country, salaries should be fair,” and on the other that “a free market, contributes to maintaining low levels of unemployment”.

“Among wine-growers” the proposal to “enforce a wage of 22 Swiss francs an hour has met with strong objections”, argues the Vaudois Federation of Wine-growers, who are worried about the sector maintaining competitiveness.  However, the popular initiative “against mass immigration” was adopted on 9th February (despite warnings about the difficulty of “recruiting more Swiss employees to work in vineyards and wine cellars, who would want to carry out an array of tasks that are not easily mechanised, and for which they are generally overqualified”).

If the proposal is accepted, the hourly minimum wage would be set at 22 Swiss francs (approx. 18 euros).  According to INSEE (the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies), in France the minimum gross wage is currently 9.53 Euros.  The Swiss Chamber of Agriculture adds that “on average, family members who are part of the work force earn 3,600 Swiss francs per month, which equates to an hourly wage close to 15 Swiss francs”.

[Source: Vitisphere; Illustration: detail from a leaflet on the Swiss minimum wage]


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