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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Women's rallies, and SBB prices versus foreign railways: find out what's going on on Tuesday in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Women will demonstrate (like here, in 2019), across Switzerland today. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

“Women’s strike” planned today across Switzerland

Demonstrations are planned in major cities this afternoon and evening to commemorate a historic (for Switzerland) vote on June 14th, 1981, when gender equality was included in the Constitution following a referendum where 60 percent of voters approved the move.

Traffic is likely to be disrupted during the demonstrations, scheduled for following cities:

  • Basel: 6:00 pm., starting on Theaterplatz
  • Bern: 3:00 pm. to 11:00 pm., starting at Bundesplatz
  • Chur: 5:30 pm., starting at Alexanderplatz
  • Fribourg: 6:30 pm, starting at Place Pythonne
  • Geneva: 6 pm, starting at Place de Neuve
  • Lausanne: 6:30 pm., starting at Place de la Riponne
  • Lucerne: 6:00 pm., starting at Theaterplatz
  • Winterthur: 6 pm., starting at Neumarkt
  • Zug: 6:00 pm., starting at Arenaplatz
  • Zurich: 6 pm., starting at Bürkliplatz

MPs refuse to grant credit for purchase of Covid vaccines

The Council of States, the upper house of the parliament, rejected the Federal Council’s request for 780 million francs to buy new batches of vaccines for 2023.

Deputies said the government plans to purchase too many doses while “we still do not know which coronavirus variants” will be in circulation next year.

Parliament wants to ban criminals from changing their names

Since 2013, changing one’s name in Switzerland has become easier — while previously, “good reasons” were required for the official permission, now it is sufficient to have “legitimate reasons”, though both criteria are subjective.

However, since it became known that an Iraqi national sentenced in 2016 for supporting the Islamic State is now living with a new identity, some MPs have just filed a motion aiming to ensure that criminals who are subject to expulsion can no longer change their name.

READ MORE: IN NUMBERS: Which Swiss cantons deport most (and fewest) foreign criminals?

Foreign railways undercut their Swiss counterpart’s prices

The Austrian train system (ÖBB) beats the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) by offering a Geneva to Feldkirch (Austria) ticket for less than 30 euros

The same journey with SBB costs 112 francs.

ÖBB and other European rail networks regularly offer cheaper fares than those available in Switzerland.

The SBB concedes that the price difference with its neighboring counterparts is significant and is looking into offering competitive prices through new distribution channels in 2023.

However, the company already ruled out offering cheap fares like its neighbour Germany.

READ MORE: Why Switzerland won’t introduce €9 rail tickets like in Germany
 

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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For members

TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Weather is finally becoming more 'reasonable', salaries are set to slightly increase in 2023, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Monday.

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

It is finally raining in Switzerland, but is this enough?

After weeks of hot and dry weather, rain fell on many parts of Switzerland yesterday. This wet trend is expected to continue today, strengthening on Wednesday or Thursday, according to Nicolas Borgognon, a meteorologist at MeteoNews.

However, while it provides some relief for agriculture and nature in general, it is not certain whether the amount of rain will be sufficient to counteract the effects of drought that has impacted much of Switzerland.

“For that, it would take regular rain of low to moderate intensity, lasting at least 48 hours”, Borgognon said. “And at the moment, this is not yet envisaged”.

Gap between high and low salaries is growing

A new study into income disparity carried out by Unia labour union shows that in 2021, executives of 43 largest Swiss companies — including such giants as Roche, UBS, and Nestlé — earned an average of 141 times more than their lowest-paid employees.

While salaries of the lowest paid employees grew by only 0.5 percent between 2016 and 2020 (the last year for which official data is available), for the higher-ups the increase was 4 percent.

The union is callling for general raises, with the money taken away from shareholders and given to the employees instead.

“In this period marked by inflation and a possible spike in health insurance premiums, increases are becoming urgent”, Unia added.

But here’s also good news on the salary front…

Next year, wages are expected to increase by 2.2 percent on average

A survey by the KOF Economic Research Center of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich forecasts the average salary increase of 2.2 percent in 2023 — the largest one in 22 years.

The biggest increases — about 4.4 percent — will be in the restaurant and hotel industry, the sector that is among the most impacted by staff shortages.  

According to Valentin Vogt, president of the Swiss Employers’ Association, many companies have drawn on their reserves during the Covid pandemic, and do not have the financial capacity for higher increases.

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

Swiss schools don’t have enough teachers

As classes resume this week in many parts of Switzerland, a number of schools in various cantons are worried about scarcity of teachers.

According to education officials, this shortage is “more serious than ever”, driven mainly by  many teachers “feeling overwhelmed” by all the demands and pressure, in addition to actual teaching, including too many administrative tasks.

Added to this is the effort required to integrate children from Ukraine into local schools, which further complicates the already tense situation.

READ MORE : Why teachers in Swiss schools are worried about falling education standards

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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