Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 1 Jun, 2022 Updated Wed 1 Jun 2022 07:46 CEST
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Not happy with your assigned seat? Changing it may cost you money. Photo: Pixabay

MPs vote for lighter penalties for bad drivers, Swiss airline adds another cost to the price of airfaire — find out what else going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Legislators want to reduce punishment for dangerous drivers

MPs in both houses of the parliament have decided to reduce the minimum required period for license withdrawal for serious traffic offences, such as for instance driving while drunk, from 24 to 12 months.

The proposal for an even lighter penalty  — calling for only six months of license withdrawal — came from deputy Hansjörg Knecht, who argued that “for many drivers, the license is a necessity. Its removal can destroy the lives of those who depend on it for their work”.

However, Transport Minister Simonetta Sommaruga countered that losing a loved one in an accident caused by a careless driver also destroys a life.

A referendum must be held and the proposal be approved by majority of voters  before the reduced penalty can become law.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How visitors to Switzerland can avoid driving penalties

Employment: Where most Swiss job vacancies are

As The Local has recently reported, many industries are looking to hire skilled workers.

A new survey by Michael Page recruitment agency shows that Zurich recorded the sharpest increase in job opportunities (32.8 ), followed by the Mittelland region (Bern, Fribourg, Jura, Neuchâtel, and Solothurn) with 31.6 percent of vacancies.

The cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais experienced an increase of 30.5%.

The most sought-after professions are lawyers, banking professionals as well as export and logistics specialists. For the latter, the number of job offers jumped by almost 50 percent compared to May 2021, the survey found.

READ MORE: Employment: This is where Switzerland’s jobs are right now

Drug prices in Switzerland remain among most expensive in Europe

A comparison of international drug prices, in particular generics, indicates that medications are still most expensive in Switzerland than in other countries.

The study, carried out jointly by Interpharma, the association of Switzerland's pharmaceutical industry, and Santésuisse, an umbrella group for health insurance companies, found that Swiss consumers will pay this year about 48.4 percent more for drugs than their counterparts in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

In 2021, the average generic price difference was 45.2 percent.

In general, the price level for meds protected by a patent is on average 8.8 lower in other European nations and brand-name drugs whose patent has expired are 15.4 percent cheaper, the study found.

Interpharma and Santésuisse compared Swiss prices to those in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Another deterrent to air travel: paying to change seats

Higher fuel prices and increased post-Covid demand for travel are driving up airfares, making plane tickets ever more expensive.

Now Switzerland’s national carrier, SWISS, is adding yet another cost to the price of tickets: from June 21st, passengers who are not satisfied with the seat assigned to them in the "Economy Light" section (where tickets can’t be booked in advance) and who want to change it, will have to pay to do so.

Until now, passengers could change their automatically assigned seats free of charge when checking in.

The price for doing so will be at least 30 francs, depending on the flight route.

In adopting this system, SWISS is following the practice of its mother company, the Lufthansa Group, where seat changes on European routes cost from 12 to 25 euros one way.


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]





Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/06/01 07:46

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