• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swiss workers strip to combat exploitation

Lyssandra Sears · 14 Jun 2012, 10:25

Published: 14 Jun 2012 11:33 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Jun 2012 10:25 GMT+02:00

After a survey found that many Swiss uniforms are made in exploitative conditions, police and paramedics have posed half naked for a video shot to highlight the issue.

The Berne Declaration, a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting equitable and sustainable relationships, has launched the new advertising campaign in which policemen, paramedics and railway workers appear in their underwear with the slogan: “Better to be half-naked than in uniforms made in inhumane conditions”.

The survey, carried out by the Berne Declaration, has found that many uniforms in Switzerland, not only for public sector workers, but also for private sector workers at places like Coop and Starbucks, are being manufactured mostly in Macedonia, newspaper Tribune de Genève reported.

“These plants practice the minimum wage,” said Geraldine Viret, spokeswoman for the Berne Declaration. But in these countries, this amounts to 20 percent of the minimum amount needed to survive. This is exploitation.”

The report estimated that one quarter of the Swiss population, equivalent to half of the workforce, wear uniforms made in these conditions.

Although Swiss businesses are only able to enter into contracts with foreign companies that adhere to the standards set by the International Labour Organization, Viret told the newspaper that holes exist in the legislation.

The Berne Declaration does not want companies to pull out of their contracts with Macedonia, as the organization fears that further job cuts would follow in a country where unemployment is already high.

Instead, the NGO hopes to draw attention to the issue, so that Switzerland goes further than simply requiring that workers be paid the local minimum wage.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man falls to his death over dropped ski pole
The site of the accident. Photo: Valais cantonal police

Frenchman dies after he went to pick up a dropped ski pole and fell 200 metres down a mountain.

Young migrant injured after jumping from window
The girl was staying in a centre for asylum seekers in Zweisimmen. Photo: Vasile Cotovanu

A 15-year-old girl due to be deported from Switzerland is in hospital after jumping from a window.

Woman faked airport bomb threat over marital tiff
The bomb threat caused a big security alert at Geneva airport. File photo: Richard Juilliart

Wednesday's bomb threat was invented by a woman who wanted to get revenge on her husband’s mistress.

Bencic joins Federer in opting out of Rio

The Swiss is the latest top 20 tennis star to pull out of Olympics.

Swiss sports court heads to Rio Olympics
CAS has relocated from Lausanne (pictured) to Rio to deal with doping matters. Photo: CAS

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has temporarily relocated to Rio so it can make rulings over Olympic doping from the scene.

Police step up security at Geneva airport after tip-off
File photo: eGuide Travel

UPDATE: Police gradually withdraw security measures put in place this morning after an unspecified threat against the building.

Swiss Post gives stamp of approval to Solar Impulse
The new stamp is available from today. Photo: Swiss Post

A new stamp commemorates the incredible journey of two Swiss pilots.

Family of four dies in Swiss motorway crash
The accident happened near Quinto in the canton of Ticino. File photo: Costas Tavernarakis

The accident happened on the A2 in Ticino.

Swiss glacier reveals body of skier missing for 53 years
Morteratsch glacier. Photo: Graubünden police

The 36-year-old German went missing in 1963.

 Federer to miss Rio, rest of season with injury
Federer is recovering from injury. Photo: AFP

Roger Federer will miss the remainder of the season, including next month's Olympic Games in Rio.

File photo: Chase Elliott Clark
Lifestyle
Study: a fifth of Swiss spy on neighbours
Photo: Katwarn.de
National
Switzerland mulls alarm text message service
Photo: The Local
National
Study: grazing cows are worse for the environment
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Kecko
National
Terror fears trigger Swiss run on guns
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Commune d'Ayent
National
Spectacular Valais ‘bisse’ to feature on new banknote
Photo: Swiss Post
National
Swiss Post moves to accept debit cards – sometimes
Photo: Chris Marquardt
Lifestyle
Police break up dispute over late-night laundry
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: Grand Tours Project
Features
Why you should get on your bike in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: The Local
Society
Swiss village tells landlords: don’t rent homes to refugees
Photo: Rolf Krahl/Christophe G
International
Survey: world willing to pay more for ‘Swissness’
Photo: The Local
International
Chaos in Como after Swiss send back refugees
Photo: AFP/The Local
Lifestyle
Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland
Photo: Graubunden police
National
World-class Swiss climber Norbert Joos dies on ‘home mountain’
Photo: Kathleen Waters
Society
Italian ‘ignored’ by Swiss schools in language wars
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Whitepod
Features
The quirkiest places to stay in Switzerland
International
Migrant busted trying to sneak into Switzerland in a suitcase
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read
National
Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
Technology
Why Swiss science could suffer badly from Brexit fallout
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Robert Valencia
International
Swiss couple in Nicaragua told to give back adopted daughter
Photo: Zurich cantonal police
National
Police hunt prisoner on the run in Zurich murder case
Photo: Christoph G
Politics
Switzerland sets out law on expelling foreign criminals
Photo: Bernacqua
Lifestyle
Drone shocks nudists at Swiss waterpark
Photo: Basel Justice and Security Dept
Lifestyle
New signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
4,585
jobs available