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

Efforts to prevent SWISS pilots strike, sanctions for energy abusers, and other news in our roundup on Friday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
A tough job but someone has to do it: an international jury is tasked with tasting Swiss cheeses to determine the best variety. Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

Goodbye summer, welcome fall

Today is the so-called Autumnal Equinox, which marks the start of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, including in Switzerland.

Given the summer heatwave that reigned (rather than rained) in Switzerland much of the summer, many people are probably longing for the cooler temperatures and golden foliage typical of the fall season.

Image by Valentin from Pixabay

SWISS proposes out-of-court arbitration to the pilots’ association

In order to avoid a strike by SWISS pilots in the middle of autumn school vacations on October 17th, and as long-winded negotiations between the pilots’ union and the airline are not productive, SWISS has proposed to settle the differences in arbitration.

“After more than two years of intensive negotiations, a new collective labour agreement has still not been concluded. The aim of the out-of-court arbitration is to work out a non-binding recommendation over the next few weeks”, the airline said in a statement on Thursday.

It added that Switzerland’s flagship airline “is convinced of a common solution in the sense of a good Swiss compromise”.

The pilot’s union, Aeropers, has not yet replied nor rescinded its threat to strike.

READ MORE: SWISS pilots threaten an October strike action

Cantons ask federal government to set fines for energy abusers 

On September 1st, the Federal Council presented its action plan to avoid energy shortages, including lowering the indoor heating to 19 degrees.

In a letter to the Federal Council, cantons are asking for uniform sanctions across the country in the event that federal rules are not respected.

They want clarifications about who will have the responsibility for the control and issuing of fines in case of non-compliance.

The cantons are concerned that no uniform rules will exist, but instead different regional  measures will be in place, as was the case during the Covid pandemic.

Pfizer seeks approval for a bivalent Covid vaccine

The manufacturer has submitted an application to the drug regulator, Swissmedic, for authorisation of its bivalent vaccine against coronavirus to be used as a second booster.

The new vaccine is “intended to stimulate production of specific neutralising antibodies against Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5”, the strains that are currently predominant in Switzerland and elsewhere”, Swissmedic said.

In August, the regulator has approved the use of Moderna’s bivalent vaccine which targets Omicron subvariants. It should be available for use from October 10th.

READ MORE: Switzerland to start dual-strain Covid boosters in October

Best Swiss cheese to be selected today

The Valais community of Val de Bagnes is holding The Swiss Cheese Championships to determine the best variety.

Cheeses in 32 categories are vying for the coveted title of Best Cheese in an event that brings together 300 producers from all regions of Switzerland.

To prove that Swiss cheeses are loved all over the world, the winner will be determined by an international panel. Aside from Swiss jurors, there are also some from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and even Japan.

Each one of them has a very tough job of tasting 40 cheeses for five to six hours before choosing the winner later today.

READ MORE: Ten varieties of cheese you should be able to identify if you live in Switzerland

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: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Higher healthcare premiums, pensions adapted to inflation, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Tuesday.

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

Sharp increase in insurance premiums to be announced

Health Minister Alain Berset is expected to announce the new hikes at a press conference this afternoon.

While the exact increase is not yet known, Santésuisse, the umbrella group for health insurance carriers, predicts that an average hike of 10 percent would be necessary to cover the soaring healthcare costs.

Health spending went up by more than 6 percent, mainly because treatments that could not be carried out in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic had to be postponed to the following year.

The cost of Covid tests and vaccination has also increased the per-capita health spending.

READ MORE: How spiralling costs are jeopardising Switzerland’s healthcare system

MPs approve cost-cutting measures

On Monday, the Council of States decided to fully adapt old-age AHV / AVS pensions to inflation.

And if the increase in cost is 2 percent higher in the course of one year, pensions will have to be adjusted accordingly.

The measure, already previously approved by the National Council, is intended to help low and middle-income households to cope with inflation, rising healthcare premiums, and higher fuel and energy prices.

READ MORE: ‘Extraordinary measures’: What could Switzerland do to ease soaring cost of living?

Online comparator of fuel prices will see the light of day

Even though the Federal Council opposes this move, the MPs have voted on Monday to accept the creation of an app helping motorists to find cheapest gasoline prices at stations in their area.

Deputies have been urging the government to launch such an app, but the Federal Council .refused, noting that while energy prices have indeed soared in the past months, inflation in Switzerland “remains moderate compared to other countries”.

READ MORE: Why the Swiss government doesn’t want a fuel-comparison app

Switzerland’s first dating platform for anti-vaxxers launched

Though the anti-vaccination faction has not been as vociferous in Switzerland lately as during the pandemic, they have now launched a dating site for like-minded people.

The only criteria to join the site — which already has 1,200 members — is to oppose the “Covid gene therapy” and be vaccination-free.

The website states it is used for “charitable and idealistic purposes” and promotes “the holistic development of people and nature”.

Expect colder, wetter weather this week

Starting today and continuing for the next few days, the forecast calls for tempratures ranging from 12C to 14C in much of the country, as well as intermittent rain and wind.

The snow line will drop to 1,400 metres.

The coming days will bring an active cold front with rain and a surge of even cooler air, meteorologists say.

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]