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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

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 Friday
More trains will circulate over Easter holidays. Photo by Pixabay

New guide shows what your salary should be in Switzerland

The new Swiss wage book provides a comprehensive overview of the salaries that are customary in each canton, profession, and industry.

As an example, for the canton of Zurich, a carpenter earns 4,165 francs a month after completing an apprenticeship — the amount that increases to 4,363 a year later, and grows with each additional year of experience, reaching 5,060 francs after four years of employment.

Salaries for some other professions and specific sectors can be found in the photo gallery here.

The wage book can be ordered online for the price of 80 francs.  

READ MORE: What is the average salary for (almost) every job in Switzerland?

Traffic jams, bottlenecks expected ahead of the Easter weekend

With Covid rules scrapped, more people are likely to travel on Swiss roads for Easter holidays.

“Experience shows that the traffic during this period begins to intensify from the afternoon of the Wednesday preceding Easter. On this day, as well as on Thursday and Good Friday, travelers should expect to wait in queues, especially at the northern portal of the Gotthard road tunnel”, the Federal Roads Office (ASTRA) said in a press release on Thursday.

These routes will experience particularly heavy traffic and bottlenecks, according  to ASTRA:

  • Spiez – Kandersteg
  • Gampel – Goppenstein
  • Brunnen – Flüelen
  • Raron – Brig 
  • Bellinzona – Locarno
  • Sections of various main roads in the Bernese Oberland, Graubünden and the Valais side valleys.

ASTRA published a map showing where bottlenecks are expected.

Image: ASTRA

More trains for Easter

A good alternative for Easter travellers who don’t want be stranded in traffic (see above) is to take a train .

As Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) expect increased numbers of passengers during this period, the company will add 24  trains between German-speaking Switzerland and Ticino.

This represents “nearly 31,000 additional places”, SBB said. Several  regular trains will be supplemented with additional cars or units, including EuroCity trains bound for Italy.

SBB advise passengers travelling during Easter to reserve their seats ahead of time.

Court decides on language requirement for naturalisation 

Switzerland’s highest court ruled on Thursday that a Swiss high school diploma is sufficient proof of a candidate’s language proficiency for naturalisation.

The case involves a young woman from Cameroon, who is of French mother tongue and came to Switzerland at the age of eight.

As she applied for naturalisation in a German-speaking municipality of Thun (canton Bern), she supplied her new high school diploma, showing that her knowledge of German is adequate. However, as her proficiency was not validated by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), as is required, Thun authorities rejected her application.

The Federal Court decided, however, that it is “excessive and contrary to the system” to require naturalisation applicants to have their federally recognised school diplomas approved by SEM. The diplomas should constitute sufficient proof of language proficiency, the court ruled.

READ MORE: How did Switzerland become a country with four languages?

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

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

From a solid approval of all the issues in Sunday's referendum to higher beverage prices: 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 Monday

The Swiss say ‘yes’ to three proposals in Sunday’s referendum

Voters in Switzerland have accepted all three of the Federal Council’s proposals, rejecting, at the same time, opponents’ arguments.

The law making organ donation opt out across the country was approved by 60.20 percent, providing more money and staff to controversial EU border protection agency Frontex passed with 71.48 percent, and Lex Netflix – which makes streaming services pay a percentage fee to support Swiss filmmaking – passed with 58.42 percent.

READ MORE: Swiss back ‘Netflix’ law and steer clear of ‘Frontexit’

Read about the reactions in Switzerland to the vote results in our article to be published later today.

Price of beverages is soaring in Switzerland

Another popular product is becoming more expensive: non-alcoholic beverages.

“The price of PET [bottle] is skyrocketing, and with it that of mineral water and soft drinks”, according to a report in 20 Minuten.

“And there is a risk of further price increases.”

For instance, prices per litre of mineral water are now 5 to 10 cents higher, depending on the retailer. 

Of the four major retailers that the newspaper surveyed — Migros, Coop, Aldi and Lidl — only Coop has not yet increased the price of beverages, although its spokesperson conceded the company “cannot currently rule out price adjustments,” due to higher cost of raw materials, the shortage of packaging material, and the increased transport and energy costs.

Beverages have joined a growing list of other everyday products whose prices have increased due to inflation and war in Ukraine.

READ MORE: Seven products that are becoming more expensive in Switzerland

Migros gets tough on “unscrupulous” customers

Due to a growing number of shoplifters, some self-service Migros stores in Zurich are installing special barriers allowing only those who pay for their purchases to exit the store.

Customers who pay at self-checkout terminals must now scan the QR code of their receipt to open a barrier and leave with their purchases.

This is a rather drastic measure, “as Migros and Coop have so far relied on individual responsibility and random checks”, according to Tagblatt newspaper.

Russians critical of the Putin regime want to remain in Switzerland

A number of Russian women in Switzerland, who have criticised the war on social media and are therefore afraid of repercussions from the Kremlin, are asking the Federal Council to grant them asylum.

“I can understand that these women are concerned,” said Ulrich Schmid, Professor of Russian Culture and Society at the University of St. Gallen. “It is possible that the Russian secret service reports on people who are critical of the war”.

Should Russian deserters and opponents of the war get asylum in Switzerland? MPs’ views diverge.

For a Green MP Balthasar Glättli, Switzerland should grant these war objectors humanitarian visas.

However, according to Thomas Aeschi from the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), “Switzerland should treat all asylum seekers equally”, pointing out there are many people in other countries “who are also threatened”.

According to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Russians who remain in Switzerland can apply to their canton of residence to extend their existing residence permit. “It will be checked whether they meet the legal requirements for this”, SEM said.

READ MORE: Reader question: Do Russians now have to leave Switzerland?

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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