Swiss Voters Turn Down Minimum Wage, Swedish Fighters

World | May 19, 2014, Monday // 08:36|  views

A voter drops in his ballot in an election office in Bern, Switzerland, 18 May. Swiss are voted on four issues on Sunday, the acquisition of 22 Saab Gripen fighter jets and the proposal to intodruce a minimum wage among them. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Swiss voters rejected Sunday the introduction of a EUR 3300 worth minimum wage, which would have been the world's highest.

Some 76 percent declared themselves against the minimum CHF 22 (EUR 18) an hour that workers in one of the richest countries could receive under the proposal which was put forward on a referendum, according to the Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung.

The latest wage proposal came amid claims that a threshold is needed in a country where the gap between rich and poor despite the general state of wealth its citizens enjoy. Its defenders maintain that with less than EUR 3300 one would find it difficult to meet the country's high living standard.

The Swiss population also turned down a plan envisaging the purchase of 22 new Swedish-made Gripen fighter jets, even though it did by a narrow majority of 53.4%. The vote poses an obstacle to a plan for the modernization of the Swiss Air Force which had triggered a months-long debate in the country.

Critics have suggested that a small and neutral country, one like Switzerland, does not need to spend billions on defense and could instead put aside the money for education.

The deal with the Swedish defense company Saab would have cost some EUR 2.5 B to the Alpine nation, even though "anti-Gripen" campaigners argued it would cause additional expenses going far beyond that sum.

Another point of the vote "package" was a plan to impose a lifelong ban on pedophiles to work with children if they have been convicted. It was approved by 63%.

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Tags: Switzerland, minimum wage, Gripen, Swiss Air Force, Saab


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