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by
Rick Moran

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May 18, 2014 - 8:00 am

A Swiss TV network projects a decisive defeat for a ballot measure that would have established the world’s highest minimum wage at $25 an hour. The network projects a 77-23 tally when all the votes are counted.

The measure was backed by unions, the Greens, and the socialists. Business and the government opposed the wage, warning it could make living in Switzerland even more expensive than it is now, and would hurt the very people it was aimed at helping due to a loss of low-skill jobs.

BBC:

Under the plan, employers would have had to pay workers a minimum 22 Swiss francs (about $25; £15; 18 euros) an hour.

Supporters said the move was necessary for people to live a decent life.

But critics argued that it would raise production costs and increase unemployment.

Almost 77% of voters opposed the minimum wage proposal, according to almost complete results. Supporters had argued it would “protect equitable pay” but the Swiss Business Federation said it would harm low-paid workers in particular.

The issue was the most prominent of several referendums held on Sunday.

Unions argued that the measure was necessary because of the high living costs in big Swiss cities such as Geneva and Zurich.

The unions are angry that Switzerland – one of the richest countries in the world – does not have a minimum pay level while neighbouring France and Germany do.

They argue that surviving on less than 4,000 francs a month is not possible because rents, health insurance and food are all prohibitively expensive.

The minimum wage in Germany will be 8.5 euros an hour from 2017.

A key element of the campaign in favour of a minimum wage was the argument that the Swiss welfare system was being forced to subsidise businesses which refuse to pay a living wage.

But business leaders and the government said low unemployment and high standards of living for the majority showed there was no need for change.

Small businesses, in particular Swiss farmers, were especially worried that being forced to pay their staff 4,000 francs a month would price their products out of the market.

Most of Switzerland’s low-paid workers operate in the service industry, in hotels and restaurants, and the majority of them are women.

This is not a turn to the right for Switzerland — just likea referendum earlier this year on limiting immigration from the EU was not a sign of xenophobia. The Swiss are a very practical, pragmatic people and detest extremes. By any measure, the $25 an hour minimum wage was a radical proposal and deserved to go down to defeat.

Voters also defeated a ballot measure last year that would have limited executive pay to 12 times the amount made by the lowest paid worker in a company. That measure was also overwhelmingly rejected 65-35.

The Swiss apparently see limits to their experiment in democratic socialism and, while concerned about the income inequality question, won’t overturn their society to address it.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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Top Rated Comments   
Word. (Foul and unprintable word, too.) Why is it that the USA is a "meritocracy" if you make a good living in academia, journalism, the "nonprofit" sector, or "public service" (at a suitably high level, of course); but anyone else's good paycheck, vested pension fund, or personal retirement account is "the luck of the draw" or the result of unearned "privilege"?
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
You can't legislate wealth.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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"The Swiss apparently see limits to their experiment in democratic socialism"

Swiss "democratic socialism"?
You didn't need to remind us that US "conservatives" have lost touch with reality almost as much as US "liberals".
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The unions are angry that Switzerland – one of the richest countries in the world – does not have a minimum pay level while neighbouring France and Germany do."
There's a reason Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world, and it's because they don't do what the French and Germans do.
If you want to improve the standards of living for people with lower incomes, you work at reducing the costs of goods and services. Liberty will do this.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
$25 per hour = $1000 for a 40-hour week, or about $50,000 per year. Nice wages for flipping burgers or sweeping floors.

Obviously I was a chump to spend my evenings studying hard for a well-paying profession. I could have partied every night of the week.

Of course, now that I'm middle-aged, with enough saved for a comfortable retirement, the socialists will take it all away and give it to slackers and punks in the name of "fairness".
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I errantly reported this post. Sorry.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, I've done that too! I wish there were a way to undo that. But knowing how expensive computer programmers are, I am not demanding anything.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, pst314, we're cheaper than you may think. We get paid weakly. Very.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Word. (Foul and unprintable word, too.) Why is it that the USA is a "meritocracy" if you make a good living in academia, journalism, the "nonprofit" sector, or "public service" (at a suitably high level, of course); but anyone else's good paycheck, vested pension fund, or personal retirement account is "the luck of the draw" or the result of unearned "privilege"?
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Because the arts and academia and journalism and non-profits are so very spiritual, but actually providing food, clothing, fuel and hammers is so very trades-y and commercial and profitable.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
You can't legislate wealth.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
You can legislate money and numbers, but not wealth. You can raise the minimum wage to a $1000/hr and a year from now that won't be enough. The economy balances such things out. Even if you freeze pay and prices, people resort to black markets. You can't make those who have no valuable skills or assets wealthy by making laws.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's called "Zimbabwe."
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
You also can't legislate human behavior, but a LOT of people in our mostly socialist world can't understand that.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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