Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Water shortage could be looming ahead, and a move for a longer annual leave: find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.
Heat wave may lead to water rationing
Very high temperatures and no rain fuel fears of impeding drought across Switzerland, according to hydrologist Massimiliano Zappa, who warns that Swiss rivers and streams “have a lower flow than the average of previous years”.
Water rationing could become inevitable, he said.
“In Spain and southern Italy, for example, people know how to get by with little water, because they have been educated to meet their daily needs with less. But this is not part of Swiss mentality”, Zappa said.
Social Democrats push for five weeks of holidays
MP Baptiste Hurni submitted a parliamentary initiative seeking to force all employers to grant at least five weeks of paid annual vacation to their workers. Right now, only those under the age of 20 must have five weeks of annual leave; everyone else is entitled to four.
In 2012, a similar union proposal (for six weeks of holidays) was rejected by two-thirds of Swiss voters on the grounds that such a lengthy vacation would cost the economy billions of francs each year.
“We understand that the people did not want six weeks of vacation and that is why I propose this [five-week] compromise”, Hurni said, adding that “mentalities have changed in ten years. "The new generation often prefers to have more free time".
Centre and right MPs already said they oppose Hurni’s motion.
Migros continues to sell alcohol online
Even though Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain Migros, announced on Thursday that all its subsidaries voted to remain alcohol-free, the retailer continues to sell beer and wine on the Internet.
It doesn’t sell alcoholic beverages under its own logo but under the Denner brand — a low-cost grocery chain that Migros purchased in 2019.
This “duplicity” doesn’t sit well with some elected officials, including right-wing MP Andrea Geissbühler who said Migros is tricking consumers; she is therefore calling for another vote — this time to decide whether the ban should be extended to online sales.
But Migros spokesperson Marcel Schlatter pointed out that the vote applies only to physical shops, "so there's no reason to change anything" about online sales.
Green deputies don’t want foreign tourists from far-away lands
Green MP Christophe Clivaz submitted a motion to the parliament asking that the federal subsidy for tourism no longer be used to attract tourists from the United States, China, and other places from outside Europe.
“It is contradictory to promote sustainable tourism and at the same time to encourage the arrival of distant visitors by plane", he said, arguing that a Los Angeles to Geneva flight emits 3.1 tons of CO₂. Such a flight "corresponds to more than half of the average annual carbon footprint of a person living in Switzerland", Clivaz said.
The official tourism body, Switzerland Tourism, replied that Switzerland should not be singled out, because the reduction of carbon footprint “must take place on a global scale".
If tourists from distant countries bypassed Switzerland, that “would have no effect on CO₂ emissions but a very negative economic and social impact for Switzerland”, the tourism body said.
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