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Union calls for Swiss ban on euro salaries

19 Sep 2011, 11:45

Published: 19 Sep 2011 12:43 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Sep 2011 11:45 GMT+02:00

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Trade union Unia has called for Swiss companies to be banned from paying employees’ salaries in euros after the central bank placed a cap on the franc's exchange rate against the European currency. 


Unia representatives from the Swiss mechanical and electrical engineering industries (Swissmem) delivered a petition with around 2,000 signatures to the parliament in Bern on Friday. 

The labour organisation's move came as some Swiss companies consider pegging salaries to the euro amid an export crisis fueled by the strength of the franc.

Unia co-president Renzo Ambrosetti said:

“We insist on the principle of Swiss salaries for work in Switzerland,”

Unia’s petition also demanded “strict control of the banks” and the introduction of a foreign exchange trading fee that could help finance foreign exchange risk insurance for the export industry.

Before handing the petition over to the government, Ambrosetti called on the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to take further measures:

“The SNB must defend a reasonable rate of 1.40 francs to the euro, with political support. They must follow up on their first step,” he said. 

However, the Bundesrat has rejected outright a ban on payment of Swiss salaries in foreign currencies.

Such a ban would be counterproductive and could even disadvantage employees, the government said in a press statement.

“A ban would offer no effective protection against the financial consequences of the strong franc. It would even disadvantage employees in certain situations, such as when they work abroad.”

The Bundesrat said it is taking the effects of the strong franc seriously, but added that a ban would “overshoot the mark”.

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