Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Strike set to disrupt Geneva, discrimination against foreign drivers, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Wednesday.
Geneva to be disrupted today by a massive strike
Public administration employees are striking in Geneva today— the action which will include public transportation workers as well.
Their unions demand a 5-percent increase in pay to cover the higher cost of living caused by inflation and rising healthcare premiums.
Not only will buses and trams not be running, but it will also be difficult to get around the downtown area either by car or on foot.
Geneva police posted the map on Twitter showing the route that the procession of striking workers will take.
Significant increase in Covid cases in Switzerland
Figures released by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) show that 35,579 new infections have been reported within the span of seven days — over 40 percent more than during the previous week.
In view of the new wave of coronavirus infections, the government now recommends that masks be worn in crowded indoor venues, including on public transport and in stores — places and situations that are most conducive to contamination.
While a mask mandate is not expected to be implemented, “individual responsibility is gaining in importance”, FOPH said.
This week, the government has also rolled out the new booster vaccine which is adapted to better target Omicron and its sub-variants.
Cost of Swiss car insurance is based on drivers’ nationality
According to a new report by a Geneva broadcaster, LémanBlue, this practice has been widespread for more than two decades.
Insurance companies justify this system by pointing out that it is based on statistics, which indicate that certain foreigners are involved in more accidents than others; as a result, some drivers’ premiums could be 80 percent higher, depending on their nationality.
Under this system, the Swiss pay the lowest rates, while Italians and Portuguese are charged more, with the premiums being highest for people from Kosovo, the broadcaster found.
“In other words, you drive better if you are Swiss than the vast majority of other nationalities”, LémanBlue concluded.
Switzerland condemned for discriminating against widowers
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday that Switzerland violates the European Convention on Human Rights by denying widowers the same rights as those granted to widows.
The case was brought before the Strasbourg-based court by a Swiss man who quit his job to take care of his two minor children after his wife died.
Once the children reached the age of majority, the father lost his right to a widower's pension, even though women in the same situation continue to receive these payments.
After Switzerland’s Federal Court dismissed the case, the man took it to the ECHR, which ruled that he “had been subjected to unequal treatment that put widowers at a disadvantage in relation to widows”.
The Court also found that Swiss legislation in this matter “contributed to perpetuating prejudices and stereotypes”.
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