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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

France complains about Swiss jobs, railway strike to disrupt train traffic, and other news from Switzerland on Tuesday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
This cow is good not only for milk. Photo by Pixabay

Extension of cross-border home-working agreement creates ‘competitive disadvantage’

On June 29th, agreements concerning taxes and social security contributions of French cross-border employees who are still working from home were extended until October 31st.

Companies in France’s Haute-Savoie region, where most of cross-border workers employed in Geneva come from, are upset, claiming that home-office agreement makes working in Switzerland even more attractive for French workers, at the detriment of local businesses.

According to Christophe Coriou, head of the Haute-Savoie section of French employers, “these agreements accentuate the competitive disadvantage” of French companies compared to Swiss jobs — in terms of salaries, but also lower taxes and other perks.

“By emptying them of their human resources, Geneva penalises companies in Haute-Savoie”,  Coriou  said, adding that “teleworking of cross-border workers, which is perceived as an additional attraction to the salary, accentuates the competitive disadvantage of companies in neighboring France”.

READ MORE: Why French cross-border workers choose to work in Switzerland

And speaking of the Swiss-French border…

Railroad strike to affect cross-border train

A strike by French railroad workers scheduled to begin tonight at 7 pm and continue on Wednesday, will impact the Léman Express train, which links Vaud and Geneva with towns in France.

The normal schedule will be disrupted, and alternative transport on sections of the route will be put into place between certain stations.

Inflation has no impact on Swiss real estate prices

Although rising inflation — from 2.6 percent in April to 3.4 percent in June —  has increased the cost of living in Switzerland, property prices have not followed the upward so far, according to  Swiss marketplace group ( SMG) and the real estate consulting firm Cifi.

“Real estate prices do not currently seem to be influenced by the rise in key interest rates and inflation. Condominium apartments raised their prices by 1.1 percent compared to May, while single-family homes showed relative stagnation at 0.3 percent”, SMG said.

Rents are also mostly stable, increasing by only 0.1 percent. The biggest increase in expected to be in energy prices.

READ MORE: Inflation in Switzerland hits 3.4 percent for June

Forget milk and eggs…get fuel at the farm

Switzerland’s first biogas filling station is on a farm in Thayngen, Schaffhausen. The fuel comes from cow dung.

“It comes from manure, liquid manure and organic waste from our farm and other local farms,” said farmer Christian Müller.

While biogas may provide an alternative to regular fuel at a time when shortage may be looming, it is not cheap: a kilo — which corresponds to 1.5 litres — costs almost 2.90 francs, slightly more than fuelling up at the regular pump.

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 Wednesday

Worsening education standards in Swiss schools, the outlook for the value of the Swiss Franc and other news in our daily roundup from Switzerland on Wednesday.

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

Switzerland celebrates anniversary of first train

Switzerland — famous for its punctual railways — celebrated the 175th anniversary of passenger train services in the country on Tuesday with a re-creation of the first journey featuring a steam locomotive.

The first train service on August 9, 1847 linked Zurich with Baden, 23 kilometres to the northwest — a trip which took 33 minutes.

Transport minister Simonetta Sommaruga and around 150 guests boarded the special train to Zurich to mark the anniversary, which involved historic carriages and a steam locomotive.

“The train is part of our basic service. It brings people together and strengthens cohesion in our country,” Sommaruga said, according to the ATS national news agency.

The line between Zurich and Baden was built in 16 months. One of the original bridges is still in use.

Swiss teachers concerned about education standards

Switzerland’s teachers’ association has warned of worsening standards of education at schools because of a lack of certified staff.

Association president Dagmar Rösler told a news conference that an increasing number of primary schools have had to bring in supply staff who are not qualified to be a teacher. 

Rösler said the situation was worse in the German-speaking cantons in Switzerland and that schools were having trouble recruiting teachers to fill vacant positions ahead of the new term.

Rösler warned that the knock-on effect could see parents opt to place their children in private schools or opt for home schooling.

Covid update

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) announced on Tuesday that there have been 21,817 new cases of coronavirus in the last seven days. There have also been 25 additional deaths and 327 patients have been hospitalised in the same period.

Those figures reflect a 6.6 percent fall in the number of new cases but a 12.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalisations.

On Tuesday some 600 people were being treated in intensive care in Switzerland with Covid-19 patients occupying 6 percent of the places available.

The total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic in Switzerland stands at 13,559 and the overall number of people people hospitalised has reached 57,014.

Swiss Franc to remain level with the Euro

The value of the Swiss franc should remain steady at just below parity with the euro in the coming months, economists have said.

To slow inflationary trends, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is no longer curbing the appreciation of the national currency as much, economists from the group Raffeissen said.

The franc fell below parity with the euro in early July and has remained steady since then. On Wednesday it was trading at around €0.97. At the start of the year, the franc was still worth €1.0379.

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