Swiss left groups intensify campaign to save jobs and public services amid pandemic

The Swiss Party of Labor (PST-POP) has initiated a campaign to institute a Corona Solidarity Tax to help people in distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Swiss Communist Party has sought a parliamentary initiative to legally prohibit layoffs during this period of crisis

June 10, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Swiss Left petition for corona tax
The Swiss Party of Labor (PST-POP) launched a petition in the first week of April to institute a “Corona Solidarity Tax”.

The Swiss Party of Labor (PST-POP) and its mass fronts have intensified their campaign to introduce a “Corona Solidarity Tax” to be imposed on millionaires in the country. The tax would be used to create a fund for redistribution to workers and families in distress during the COVID-19 crisis. PST-POP launched the petition calling for a corona tax on April 3 and has been organizing various campaigns to promote the demand. The party organized a flash mob in the city of Vaud on June 7, Sunday, to support the petition.

In the petition, the PST-POP proposed a one-off deduction of 2% on wealth and property worth 3 million Swiss francs or more, which will raise approximately 17.5 billion francs (USD 1.82 billion). The calculation is based on 2019 tax figures on patrimony – defined as the total sum of real estate and financial investments, as well as movable goods of value such as yachts, jewelry, works of art, etc.

The creation of the fund from the tax thus collected will be used to redistribute money to workers, families and small businesses who are in financial distress due to the COVID-19 crisis. The money paid from the fund is to be considered a specific support contribution and not a loan. It, therefore, does not need to be reimbursed by the beneficiaries.

PST-POP stated that “the difficulties we are currently facing are directly linked to the Liberal economic policy of our government. The massive reduction in the tax rate on corporate profits, the privatization of the health sector, and the ongoing social cuts have considerably weakened our ability and ability to cope with crises of this magnitude.”

“The government intends to pass on the costs of the crisis to the population by accumulating the national debt. However, the PST-POP believes that those who benefit enormously from neoliberal policies so far should be involved. They should now contribute to the common good and to the recovery of the economy. This is why we are proposing the ‘Corona solidarity tax’ targeting millionaires,” the party added.

Meanwhile, the Swiss Communist Party has entrusted its two deputies in the Grand Council of Ticino, Massimiliano Ay and Lea Ferrari, to file a parliamentary initiative to legally prohibit layoffs during this period of crisis.

As per the party, “after the crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, layoffs followed, and unemployment figures are increasing. The loss of jobs is worrying and requires an intervention by the state to protect not only workers but also the productive fabric of the canton.”

“The aid provided by the public body, in fact, should be aimed at safeguarding jobs and guaranteeing the payment of wages, certainly not to increase the productivity margins of that irresponsible part of the boss who wants to take advantage of it,” the party stated.

The youth wing of the PST-POP, Jeunes POP Suisse, and the Communist Youth also expressed solidarity with ongoing anti-racism protests in the US triggered by the killing of African-American man, George Floyd. Cadres from the Communist Youth, including Samuel Lembo, participated in the anti-racism demonstrations in Bellinzona on June 6, Saturday, and extended their solidarity.