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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Swiss workers need wage rises and rent prices rise in Zurich in the latest roundup of news from Switzerland on Tuesday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Wolf population in Alps is growing exponentially so what needs to be done to protect livestock? AFP PHOTO/DIETER NAGL (Photo by DIETER NAGL / AFP)

Swiss workers should get wage increase of ‘up to 5 percent in 2023’

Trade Union Travail Suisse has demanded a general wage rise of between 3 and 5 percent for all workers in the country in 2023.

The rise would allow workers to cope with the rising cost of living in the country as well as to compensate workers for an increase in productivity.

Thomas Bauer an economist from Travail Suisse argues that Switzerland’s economy is in good health at the moment but workers have seen little benefit in terms of wage rises. They have only see prices rise and stress levels increase.

“That has to change urgently,” he said.

That argument was echoed by Johann Tscherrig from the Syna trade union who said: “All workers must get their fair share of the fruits of growth” as they work “to the maximum of their abilities”.

READ ALSO: FACT CHECK: How accurate are the ‘five reasons not to move to Switzerland’?

Rent prices stable in July but increase in Zurich

Rent prices in Switzerland did not see an increase last month for the first time in a year, according to the property site Homegate.

But although July saw prices stagnate or even sightly decrease, the bigger picture shows that rents continue to rise, especially in Switzerland’s cities.

Over the last year they have increased 2 percent in Switzerland as a whole and as much as 6.4 percent in Zurich.

The canton of Graubünden saw a 4.3 percent rise compared to last year whilst rents in the cantons of Nidwalden (+7.3%) and Schwyz (+4.7%) also rose steeply.

Homegate put the general rise down to the fact that “both the number of vacant homes and the number of building permit applications are down, while demand remains high due to immigration.”

READ ALSO: REVEALED: Where in Europe have house prices and rent costs increased the most?

Wolf population in Alps growing exponentially

The number of wolves in the Alps continues to grow but there are concerns that available habitat will soon become too restricted as the population of the wild animal grows exponentially.

The organisation Groupe Loup Suisse (Swiss Wolf group) said the wolf population across the Alps was growing by 25 percent to 30 percent each year.

With around 300 wolf packs living in the Alps this summer the population has occupied around half the habitable area – given that each wolf pack needs around 250 square kilometres of territory on average.

Groupe Loup Suisse estimates therefore that the Alps has around enough space for a viable population of 800 packs.

The organisation believes it’s vital to implement measures to better protect livestock from wolf attacks.

READ ALSO: Swiss organisation again calls for volunteers to scare wolves away

Chimney sweepers in high demand

The high oil and gas prices are scaring Swiss homeowners and many are not getting ready to heat their homes with wood, broadcaster SRF reported.

With that, chimney sweep services are more sought after than ever, with businesses booked weeks ahead, especially in rural areas, where wood stoves and fireplaces are more common. But inquiries from homeowners in larger cities are also increasing, the head of the Association of chimney sweeps Switzerland Paul Grässli says.

He reminds people to have their fireplaces and stoves checked regularly by professionals to avoid accidents. “If the fireplace has not been used for years, it could be dangerous, he says.

READ ALSO: How can you save on your household energy bills in Switzerland?

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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Covid cases are increasing substantially, prices are not falling despite lower inflation, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Wednesday.

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

Covid cases are rising significantly

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that 25,134 new cases of coronavirus were detected in Switzerland in the past seven days — 49.4 percent more that at the same time last week.

This is in line with predictions that another Covid wave will hit Switzerland during the fall and winter.

To curb the number of new infections, Switzerland will roll out a new version of the Moderna vaccine on October 10th, which should better target Omicron and its subvariants.

READ MORE: OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

Inflation in Switzerland is down, but impact on prices not yet seen

Swiss inflation fell slightly in September, from 3.4 to 3.3 percent, but except for the price of gasoline, other costs have not gone down.

“Inflation fell, but the consumer price index did not decline”, according to Sergio Rossi, economist and professor at the University of Fribourg.

“In other words, prices continue to rise, just not as much as previously”.

And Swiss consumers should not see any relief on the price front any time soon. “The upward trend will will continue, at least until the end of the year, or even until the summer of 2023”, he said.

READ MORE: Pasta up by 13 percent: How food and energy prices in Switzerland are rising

The best airport in Europe is Swiss

For the 19th consecutive year, Zurich Airport has received the World Travel Award for Best European Airport.

The ranking is based on customer satisfaction, as well as the quality standards of the products and services offered at and around the airport.

To maintain its standing, the airport is planning new infrastructure, including a new baggage sorting facility and the renovation of part of the airport’s shopping area.

Switzerland’s other international airports, Geneva and Basel, were not part of the ranking.

Research: To save energy, we must live in smaller dwellings

To reduce the use of (and need for) energy, we have to “seriously change our habits” and  learn to live in smaller spaces, researchers from the Federal Polytechnic Institute of Lausanne (EPFL) say.

This would cut energy costs both in terms of electricity and heating.

However, this could be difficult to achieve as homeowners and tenants in Switzerland want larger dwellings, which inevitably leads to higher energy consumption.

Therefore, “promoting the environmental awareness among those people is essential but difficult to implement”, the study found.

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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