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EU agrees to recognise Switzerland’s vaccination certificate

The European Union and Switzerland will recognise each other's Covid vaccination certificates from Friday, July 9th, the European Commission announced on Thursday.

EU agrees to recognise Switzerland's vaccination certificate
Photo: OLIVIER MORIN / AFP

This month, 27 EU member states along with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein adopted common standards to read digital coronavirus certificates.

Proof of vaccination or acquired immunity via a recognised certificate can help travellers avoid restrictions like quarantine on arrival.

But member states remain in charge of their own border rules, and reserve the right to impose emergency controls if the epidemic situation deteriorates.

“I warmly welcome that the Swiss authorities have decided to implement a system based on the EU Digital COVID Certificate,” EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders said.

“As a result, the certificate will not only facilitate free movement within the EU, but also between the EU and Switzerland. “This will allow EU citizens and Swiss nationals to travel safely and more freely this summer.”

The EU document — essentially a QR code available on smartphones or paper — shows whether the bearer is vaccinated, recovered from an infection or recently tested negative.

The EU is in talks with several countries from outside the EU and the EAA economic area, including Britain and Russia, about recognising each other’s certificates.

What is the Covid immunity pass?

This passport, in the form of a QR code on a smartphone or printed out on a piece of paper, must be presented by each traveler at the border.

It includes identification data and information relating to vaccination (type of vaccine, number of doses received), screening (date of test, negative or positive result), and even serological analysis, namely if the traveler had Covid and has antibodies.

READ MORE: How to get Switzerland’s Covid-19 health pass

Switzerland’s Covid-19 immunity certificate has been available since June 7th – and now has a linked app which makes the digitalisation process easier. 

Both apps are available for free. Here is the link for the Apple App store here, and that for Android.  

Switzerland’s Covid-19 certificate app up close. Image: FOPH

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TRAVEL NEWS

SWISS pilots threaten an October strike action

The Swiss pilots’ union could go on strike during Switzerland’s busy autumn holiday period.

SWISS pilots threaten an October strike action

The union, Aeropers, which has been negotiating salary increases and improved working conditions with Switzerland’s national airline, has rejected the carrier’s latest collective labour agreement (CLA) and is threatening to go on strike.

The  (CLA) is a kind of contract that is negotiated between Switzerland’s trade unions and employers or employer organisations. Generally speaking, they cover a minimum wage for each type of work; regulations relating to work hours; payment of wages in the event of illness or maternity; vacation and days off; and protection against dismissal.

READ MORE : What is a Swiss collective bargaining agreement — and how could it benefit you?

The pilots said they would cease flying on October 17th, which falls in the middle of school holidays in a number of cantons — the period when many families holiday abroad.

“SWISS has not sufficiently entered into the matter of the legitimate interests of its pilots”, Aeropers said, adding that if the airline doesn’t come up with a better offer, the union “will initiate the procedures for a strike”.

For its part, SWISS said in a press release that it offered its pilots 60 million francs more than on the previous CLA, but “Aeropers executive committee has rejected this latest offer as inadequate, and has made demands of its own totalling over 200 million”.

However, Aeropers head Thomas Steffen has denied SWISS’ claim saying the 200-million figure is “a fantasy number” that has no basis whatsoever. According to Steffen, the pilots’ demand was “significantly less than half of this sum”.

He went on to accuse the airline of “propaganda” at the detriment of its employees”.

He added that the strike would me a last-resort measure if the dispute on pay, which has been going on for a year, is not resolved within a month.

“We’ve negotiated for a year and made sure that our members are level-headed and fly safely and reliably, despite being without a contract,” Steffen said.

If the SWISS cockpit staff, which also includes its sister airline, Edelweiss, does go on strike, it will be the latest labour dispute in Europe’s aviation, which includes a strike by Lufthansa ground crew, which impacted Switzerland over the summer.

However, strikes by Swiss workers is relatively uncommon compared to other countries.

READ MORE: Why are strikes so rare in Switzerland?

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