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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Rail strike in Germany has disrupted train traffic. Photo by Armando BABANI / AFP

Swiss government meets today to “reassess the situation”

The Federal Council chose today, September 1st, to discuss what, if any, measures should be implemented to curb the rising number of Covid infections and especially hospitalisations.

“Given the uncertain evolution of the epidemiological situation, the Federal Council will reassess the situation and possibly adjust the measures at its meeting on September 1st, when the impact of the return from the summer holidays will be more apparent”, authorities said.

One major change which could be announced is the expansion of the Covid certificate to all indoor areas of bars, gyms, restaurants, museums and private events.

READ MORE: Switzerland proposes Covid certificates indoors in bars, restaurants and gyms


Huge differences in the administrative costs of Swiss pension funds

A new study by reveals a significant disparity between pension funds when it comes to administrative and management costs.

These costs vary considerably among 73 pension funds examined, with the cheapest charging 59 francs per person per year and the most expensive, 900 francs..

“These enormous price differences in asset management point to inefficient pricing and mismanagement”, said Comparis’ pension expert Leo Hug, adding that “these inefficiencies would melt away through the introduction of the free choice of pension fund by the employees”, which is not currently the case in Switzerland.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How does the Swiss pension system work – and how much will I receive?

Ongoing strike in Germany affects Swiss train passengers

International rail traffic has been significantly disrupted by striking German train drivers.

From Thursday at 2 am to Tuesday at 2 am, various Deutsche Bahn trains, including connections between Germany and Switzerland, will be cancelled.

In addition to the Basel-Berlin-Basel train, the Basel-Cologne-Basel connection is also suspended. For the trip from Zurich to Hamburg and back, passengers have to change trains in Basel.

The connections between Zurich and Munich will be reduced.

The night trains from Zurich and Basel to Berlin and Hamburg will be  canceled in both directions on the nights from September 1st to September 2nd and from September 6th to 7th.

Swiss throw away too much food

In Switzerland, nearly 2.8 million tonnes of food are wasted each year, according to an organisation called Too Good to Go, which fights against food waste.

Individuals are responsible for four times more waste than the restaurant industry – private households account for 28 percent of thrown food, agriculture for 20 percent, and retailers for 10 percent.

In weight, the amount of wasted food is equivalent to the weight of around one million cows, the organisation reports.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Swiss workers need wage rises and rent prices rise in Zurich in the latest roundup of news from Switzerland on Tuesday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Swiss workers should get wage increase of ‘up to 5 percent in 2023’

Trade Union Travail Suisse has demanded a general wage rise of between 3 and 5 percent for all workers in the country in 2023.

The rise would allow workers to cope with the rising cost of living in the country as well as to compensate workers for an increase in productivity.

Thomas Bauer an economist from Travail Suisse argues that Switzerland’s economy is in good health at the moment but workers have seen little benefit in terms of wage rises. They have only see prices rise and stress levels increase.

“That has to change urgently,” he said.

That argument was echoed by Johann Tscherrig from the Syna trade union who said: “All workers must get their fair share of the fruits of growth” as they work “to the maximum of their abilities”.

READ ALSO: FACT CHECK: How accurate are the ‘five reasons not to move to Switzerland’?

Rent prices stable in July but increase in Zurich

Rent prices in Switzerland did not see an increase last month for the first time in a year, according to the property site Homegate.

But although July saw prices stagnate or even sightly decrease, the bigger picture shows that rents continue to rise, especially in Switzerland’s cities.

Over the last year they have increased 2 percent in Switzerland as a whole and as much as 6.4 percent in Zurich.

The canton of Graubünden saw a 4.3 percent rise compared to last year whilst rents in the cantons of Nidwalden (+7.3%) and Schwyz (+4.7%) also rose steeply.

Homegate put the general rise down to the fact that “both the number of vacant homes and the number of building permit applications are down, while demand remains high due to immigration.”

READ ALSO: REVEALED: Where in Europe have house prices and rent costs increased the most?

Wolf population in Alps growing exponentially

The number of wolves in the Alps continues to grow but there are concerns that available habitat will soon become too restricted as the population of the wild animal grows exponentially.

The organisation Groupe Loup Suisse (Swiss Wolf group) said the wolf population across the Alps was growing by 25 percent to 30 percent each year.

With around 300 wolf packs living in the Alps this summer the population has occupied around half the habitable area – given that each wolf pack needs around 250 square kilometres of territory on average.

Groupe Loup Suisse estimates therefore that the Alps has around enough space for a viable population of 800 packs.

The organisation believes it’s vital to implement measures to better protect livestock from wolf attacks.

READ ALSO: Swiss organisation again calls for volunteers to scare wolves away

Chimney sweepers in high demand

The high oil and gas prices are scaring Swiss homeowners and many are not getting ready to heat their homes with wood, broadcaster SRF reported.

With that, chimney sweep services are more sought after than ever, with businesses booked weeks ahead, especially in rural areas, where wood stoves and fireplaces are more common. But inquiries from homeowners in larger cities are also increasing, the head of the Association of chimney sweeps Switzerland Paul Grässli says.

He reminds people to have their fireplaces and stoves checked regularly by professionals to avoid accidents. “If the fireplace has not been used for years, it could be dangerous, he says.

READ ALSO: How can you save on your household energy bills in Switzerland?