Swiss left groups intensify campaign for mandatory minimum wage in Geneva

The Geneva Trade Union Action Community and left parties launched a popular initiative earlier this year calling for a minimum wage of 23 Swiss francs (25.26 USD) an hour

September 18, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
The Swiss Party of Labor (PST-POP) has given a call to support the initiative for the minimum wage

Trade unions and left parties in Switerland intensified their campaign for a cantonal vote to be held on September 27 over a trade union initiative to establish a minimum wage in the Geneva canton.  Earlier this year, the Geneva Trade Union Action Community (CGAS) had launched — with the support of left-wing parties — a popular initiative for a minimum wage of 23 Swiss francs (25.26 USD) an hour, or a little more than 4,000 Swiss francs (4392.54 USD) a month for a full-time job. Leftist groups including the Swiss Party of Labour (PST-POP) and its youth wing Jeunes POP Suisse, Solidarity and the Socialist Party are also supporting the initiative and are part of the campaign.

According to reports, in Geneva 10% of workers have a salary of less than 23 Swiss francs (25.26 USD) an hour, or less than 4,000 Swiss francs (4392.54 USD) for a full-time job. Half of them even receive a salary of less than 3,500 Swiss francs. These salaries do not make it possible to live in dignity without resorting to multiple public aids. The minimum wage initiative has called for the establishment of a mandatory minimum wage of 23 Swiss francs gross per hour for all branches, corresponding to 4,186 gross monthly francs for 42 hours of weekly work, indexation of the minimum wage to the cost of living, controls and sanctions for employers who fail to comply.

Mandatory minimum wages are already in place in the Swiss cantons of Neuchâtel, Jura and Ticino. 

The Swizz Party of Labor (PST-POP) gave the call for voting for the minimum wage. Alexander Eniline from the PST-POP in Geneva stated that “the introduction of a minimum wage is a fundamental requirement of justice, and an essential measure against precariousness.” He also said that the “[the] allegations of the opponents of the minimum wage…  [that it] would destroy jobs, increase unemployment and lead to a downward alignment of wages etc are baseless.”

PST-POP also condemned attempts by the right-wing Swiss Peoples Party (SVP) and Geneva Citizens Movement (MCG) to thwart the cantonal law in the Geneva Council of State aimed at compensating the most precarious workers for their loss of income during the COVID-19-linked semi-confinement period.