Centenary of "stabilising" labour accords marked

Employers and unions have been marking the 100 year anniversary of Swiss collective labour contracts, seen as a key element of labour stability in Switzerland.

This content was published on November 24, 2011 - 15:05 and agencies

Around 200 people gathered for a conference on Thursday in Bern. Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Amman was also on hand.

Union heads said the contracts promoted peace in the workplace and stability in Switzerland. However Syna called on bosses not to reduce salaries even if economic conditions are gloomy.


The employers’ association noted that there had been problems in recent years with international competition putting pressure on costs and the redistribution of earnings has become harder than it was in the past.

The association called for “clear priorities”, saying the success of a business should come first and support for staff second. Only then should the sharing of wealth become a factor, said the association head Thomas Daum.

The collective contracts apply to a sector or company and are negotiated between the trade unions and an employer or an employers' association.

Daniel Oesch, a professor at the Institute of Social Sciences at Lausanne University, told only one in two jobs in Switzerland is subject to a collective agreement. The remainder follow Swiss labour law, which is less advanced than in other European countries. This may result in a two-tier system, with some workers protected and well-organised and others insecure and working under difficult conditions, he said.

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