• Switzerland's news in English
 

French workers targeted in Swiss hate campaign

Published: 30 Apr 2012 10:17 GMT+02:00

Residents of France who work across the border in Geneva have become the targets of a virulent anti-migrant campaign calling for their houses and cars to be burned.

Some 90,000 foreigners, most of them French, cross the border to work in Geneva, sparking tension in an area with the highest unemployment in Switzerland - 5.3 percent in March, against a national rate of 3.2 percent.

A pamphlet distributed this month outside the Geneva University Hospitals calls for the elimination of "this border scum".

"They are everywhere... in a number that far exceeds the tolerable quota, with their arrogance, their pollution, their contempt, their insolence and their privilege," the pamphlet said.

"Total war is declared," said the tract, which was reprinted by the local Socialist Party in a newsletter expressing alarm over the document's violent nationalism. "Burn their houses, their cars. Border workers, get out."

The hospital said it planned to file charges against the pamphlet's anonymous author.

The labour union that represents employees there defended the practice of hiring cross-border workers, saying Geneva's own education system doesn't train enough nurses.

"We defend all workers, wherever they're from," union secretary Julien Dubouchet Corthay told AFP.

The hospital's 10,172 employees are 48 percent Swiss and 34 percent French, its 2011 records show.

The nursing staff is 56-percent French, but 66 percent of doctors are Swiss against just 11 percent French, and 72 percent of senior executives are Swiss.

Tensions over the large number of foreign workers at the hospital erupted into the open in February, when the director general said the hospital would begin favouring Geneva residents in promotions.

"Out of 165 medical unit managers, 110 are cross-border workers. Some employees who live in Geneva have complained," hospital chief Bernard Gruson told a local newspaper.

"So I've decided to favour a return to equilibrium. That will be my priority for every promotion. It's absolutely not about ostracism, but about my role as boss to arbitrate when people are dissatisfied."

The remarks unleashed a heated debate in Geneva, and fed the rhetoric of local political party the Geneva Citizens Movement, which regularly criticises cross-border workers.

The movement also claims French criminals come to Geneva to steal from residents.

The local Socialist Party has meanwhile called for the creation of a cross-border parliament that would bring together officials from the border districts of Geneva and Vaud with their counterparts in France.

The body would deal with the entire region's housing and employment issues, the Socialist say.

"The Geneva Socialist Party is aware of the enormous distortions in both the employment and housing markets," it said.

"That's why the party is convinced that the France-Vaud-Geneva people must work together to find solutions to their problems, especially by creating appropriate democratic institutions and true tools to fight against underpaying wages."

 

Today's headlines
Swiss men's ski team announced for Worlds
Carlo Janka in action. Photo: AFP/File

Swiss men's ski team announced for Worlds

In-form all-rounder Carlo Janka will head up the 12-strong Swiss team for the February 2nd-15th World Ski Championships in Colorado, Switzerland's ski federation announced on Wednesday. READ  

ILO sees potential in Juncker jobs plan
Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: European People's Party/flickr

ILO sees potential in Juncker jobs plan

An ambitious European investment plan could create 2.1 million jobs by 2018 if properly implemented, the Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday. READ  

Rights court hears Swiss appeal of 'genocide' case
Turkish politician Dogu Perinçek. Photo: AFP/File

Rights court hears Swiss appeal of 'genocide' case

The case of a Turkish politician who declared in Switzerland that the Armenian genocide is an “international lie” is to be reconsidered by Europe’s top human rights court in Strasbourg on Wednesday. READ  

Restructuring costs reduce Roche profits
Photo: Roche

Restructuring costs reduce Roche profits

Global restructuring costs ate into profits as Swiss drugs giant Roche on Wednesday recorded a 16 percent drop in net income to 9.5 billion francs ($10.5 billion) for 2014. READ  

Tennis: Australian Open
Nishikori win sends Wawrinka to semifinals
Photo: Greg Wood/AFP/File

Nishikori win sends Wawrinka to semifinals

Defending champion Stan Wawrinka wasted five match points before sealing a straight sets win over Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori to reach the semifinals at the Australian Open on Wednesday. READ  

Right-wing group seeks national face veil ban
Member of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland wears niqab while distributing flyers in Ticino against veil ban in 2013. Photo: Fabrice Coffrrini/AFP

Right-wing group seeks national face veil ban

The same group that launched the initiative to ban the construction of new minarets in Switzerland is now seeking a national law to prohibit the wearing of veils and other face-covering headgear. READ  

Swiss docs 'worst' for leaving items in patients
Photo: AFP

Swiss docs 'worst' for leaving items in patients

Swiss hospitals may have a good reputation but doctors from Switzerland have the worst record in Europe for leaving medical instruments or “foreign bodies” inside patients after operations, according to an OECD report. READ  

UN rights chief alarmed over Egypt clashes
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein: worried by Egypt developments. Photo: UNHRC

UN rights chief alarmed over Egypt clashes

The United Nations human rights chief in Geneva voiced deep concern on Tuesday over the killing of at least 20 people in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Egypt in recent days. READ  

Novartis notches higher profit on strong sales
Photo: AFP/File

Novartis notches higher profit on strong sales

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis said on Tuesday that strong sales of new products helped push its net profit up 12 percent in 2014 from the previous year despite harsh competition from cheaper copycat generic drugs. READ  

Swiss ski resorts offer exchange rate deals
Obersaxen ski area. Photo: Switzerland Tourism

Swiss ski resorts offer exchange rate deals

Certain Swiss ski resorts are offering European tourists discount exchange rates for the euro to offset the impact of the strong franc, although some critics are not happy about the practice. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Sponsored Article
Avoid the costs of wild Swiss currency swings
Features
Anglophone expats in Switzerland mine creativity to earn crust
National
Number of 'immigrants' swells to third of Swiss population: report
International
Pricey Switzerland tops latest global cost of living study
National
Swiss travel agents and retailers cut prices after franc surge
Technology
Solar Impulse team unveils round-the-world route for sun-powered plane
Business & Money
Swiss central bank's shock move to let franc rise sparks debate
National
Markets panic as Swiss National Bank scraps euro rate cap
National
VIDEO: Swiss soldiers publish pictures of antics on internet
National
A portrait of modern Switzerland in ten stats
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Features
Geneva-based expat pens seismic novel about Haitian homeland
Features
Tons of explosives finally removed from hundreds of Swiss sites
International
'Don't succumb to fear': Swiss President Sommaruga on terrorism
Sport
Federer claims historic 1,000th win at Brisbane tennis tournament
National
Swiss newspapers condemn deadly Charlie Hebdo terror attack
Business & Money
Hackers steal client information from Geneva cantonal bank
National
Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris sparks Swiss rallies
National
Pop star Madonna leaves her mark during Swiss mountain holiday
National
Disassembled Solar Impulse heads to Emirates in jumbo jet
National
US ambassador in Bern sparks flap over Swiss ski lift line 'chaos'
National
New President Sommaruga lauds 'bold' Swiss democracy
National
Hopes fade of finding missing Scottish researcher still alive
National
Scientists in Lausanne and Belgium step up search for alien life
National
Nude 'selfie' mayor heads Switzerland's top ten scandal list
Features
The Local's top ten snow sport alternatives to skiing in Switzerland
Culture
Suspected stabber Nabilla given conditional release from detention
International
Swiss hotel school grad 'hero' among Australian café siege victims
Business & Money
Switzerland cracks top ten list of best countries for business
Business & Money
Swiss National Bank imposes negative interest rates
Politics
Federal cabinet ministers rapped for accepting new limouisines
International
Swiss chocolate café at centre of hostage-taking drama Down Under
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Features
Exploring the 'most beautiful village' in French-speaking Switzerland
Business & Money
Italian thieves steal 260 tons of Swiss Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate
National
World's longest train tunnel — under the Swiss Alps — set to open in 2016
National
Porn film on video screen spices up fare at Swiss McDonald's restaurant
National
Masturbation scene in Swiss TV ad for Media Markt draws complaints
National
Cantonal lawmakers end 'happy hours' tippling in Vaud pubs and bars
Politics
Former concert pianist Sommaruga elected as next Swiss president
Culture
Jailed German art forger's paintings go on sale at Bern gallery
Business & Money
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad's family listed as Switzerland's richest
Features
Long-time expats face dilemma: to be or not to be a Swiss citizen
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,302
jobs available