Swiss reject €18 minimum wage

Swiss citizens rejected a proposal to introduce the world’s highest minimum wage of €18 an hour in a vote yesterday, according to first projections, bringing relief to business leaders worried the measure would have damaged the Swiss workplace.

About 77% of voters in the wealthy nation dismissed the proposal made by Swiss union SGB and backed by the Socialist and Green parties, a national projection for Swiss SRF television showed, while 23% were in favour.

“It is a clear vote by the people, a vote of trust in the economy,” Hans-Ulrich Bigler, director of the Swiss trades association, told Swiss television.

The vote is the latest in a slew of initiatives being put to voters to try to address the widening income gap in the generally egalitarian country.

Economically liberal Switzerland does not have a nationwide minimum wage. Pay is determined by individual employment contracts or via collective bargaining agreements, some of which also set industry-specific minimum wages.

- Reuters

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