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Voters back Swiss minimum wage bid: poll

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Voters back Swiss minimum wage bid: poll
Photo: Michael Buholzer/AFP
23:49 CET+01:00
A narrow majority of Swiss voters approve an initiative to establish a minimum wage of 4,000 francs ($4,580) a month, according to the results of a new survey released on Sunday.

The poll, conducted for SonntagBlick newspaper by opinion research institute Léger, found that 52 percent of respondents approved the minimum wage proposal, set to be decided in a May 18th referendum.

The survey, taken between March 11th and 14th, recorded 42 percent opposed to the initiative while six percent were undecided.

Support for the minimum pay, equivalent to 22 francs an hour, was stronger (59 percent) in French-speaking Switzerland than in German-speaking regions, SonntagsBlick said.

The SGB union, which launched the minimum wage proposal, argues that 330,000 workers in Switzerland earn less than 4,000 francs a month, an amount judged to be insufficient to cope with the country’s high cost of living.

The proposal, however, is opposed by the government and both houses of parliament.

Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann has warned that the lowest-paid workers would suffer the worst consequences from the initiative, which he said would threaten the existence of small companies in retail, catering and agriculture sectors, among others.

Meanwhile, survey results showed that most Swiss remain opposed to the federal government’s deal to acquire 22 Swedish-made Gripen fighter jets.

SonntagsBlick said 62 percent of those surveyed opposed the 3.13-billion-franc ($3.59-billion) purchase.

The Swiss government approved the acquisition of the Saab-made combat planes to replace ageing F-5 Tiger jets in 2011 and parliament backed the deal last year.

But opponents collected more than 65,000 signatures forcing the issue to a public referendum.

At issue is not whether the planes will be purchased but how they are paid for.

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