Photo (cc) by jeffedoe
Swiss voters Sunday crushed a referendum to introduce a $25 minimum wage.
The initiative was defeated by an overwhelming 76 percent to 24 percent vote. Switzerland currently has no national minimum wage. Proposed by the Swiss Trades Union, the $25 (22 Swiss francs) hourly minimum wage would have been the world’s highest. According to The Wall Street Journal:
The Minimum Wage Initiative came against a backdrop of efforts around the world to raise pay for lower-income workers. Switzerland’s plan would have set wages at more than double the $10.10 an hour that U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed for American workers. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing for a minimum wage of €8.50 ($11.64) an hour.
Both the Swiss government and business leaders opposed the minimum wage initiative, arguing that it would destroy jobs and hurt younger and lower-skilled employees.
Efforts have been under way in Switzerland to address income inequality through referendums. Just last year, Swiss voters approved a proposal to curb excessive bonuses for executives and voted down a measure to cap the salaries of the best-paid executives at 12 times that of the lowest-paid employees.
The average household income in Switzerland is about $6,800 a month, compared with $4,300 in the U.S., USA Today said.
Switzerland, however, features some of the world’s highest prices. The country does not have a minimum wage law, so pay scales are determined by employment contracts or collective bargaining. However, 90 percent of Swiss workers earn more than the proposed minimum and are already among the highest paid in the world.