SGB President Pierre-Yves Maillard and Unia President Vania Alleva at a demonstration in Zurich. (archive image)
Despite record low unemployment of 2.2 percent, according to the unions, not everything is going well for the employees. According to the unions, job security alone is useless if the wages are still not enough to live on. At its annual media conference on Monday morning, the Swiss Trade Union Confederation (SGB) also called for real wage increases and an automatic cost-of-living adjustment for the new year.
One recognizes the increase in wages for this year in many sectors. However, the pay gap is also widening. For example, workers with lower and middle wages have less real wages today than in 2016. Only the top ten percent have gone up.
At the media conference, SGB chief economist Daniel Lampart (53) called for at least 5,000 francs monthly wages for employed people with an apprenticeship and at least 4,500 francs for everyone.
We women are ugly.Unia President Vania Alleva
Real wage increases and an automatic cost-of-living adjustment would be manageable for companies, argues the SGB. The economic prospects have improved somewhat after two years of the corona pandemic. The money for a dignified life is available for everyone. After all, Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world.
The wage negotiations have shown that although the employers have increased prices, they have budgeted for wages on a petty scale. But purchasing power must keep pace with production worldwide, otherwise there will be no demand, warns the trade union federation. In most countries, wages have lagged behind inflation.
In the new year, the trade unions will place a special focus on the labor market situation of women. “We women are ugly,” said Unia President Vania Alleva (53) at the media conference. Equality goes backwards instead of forwards. “Even if there were some positive wage rounds, they cannot cope with the massive discrimination against women,” criticized Alleva.
Nurses are leaving the industry
The trade union confederation is also demanding premium reductions for health insurance companies. The premium increases of 6.6 percent this year are a shock and unbearable for many. “A couple with two children will have to pay 1,000 francs a month for the premiums for the first time in 2023,” Lampart calculated.
A trend reversal is also needed in working hours: Instead of constantly demanding new exceptions to working and rest times, employers should again participate in reducing working hours in order to improve health protection and family life for employees.
“300 nurses a month flee their profession because they can no longer,” argued Alleva. The result: overburdened health facilities, declining quality of care. She described the fact that the care initiative had not yet been implemented as a “scandal” and accused the federal government and cantons of shifting responsibility to each other.
Stress at work is becoming more and more expensive
Almost every third working person is now fairly or very exhausted. This is not only a painful development for those affected. Mental and physical stress also caused health costs, according to the SGB.
And these costs are paid primarily by the employees and the general public, because the employers do not have to pay any health insurance contributions, according to the trade union federation. Estimates show that the health costs associated with stress and work amount to several billion Swiss francs.
Employers want to make night and Sunday work easier
According to the SGB, employees and their working conditions have been subject to regular political attacks for some time. Parliamentary motions from employer circles wanted to shorten the rest and rest periods in the labor law.
They wanted to increase night and Sunday work – recently also under the pretext of the energy shortage. Or they wanted to undermine the subsistence level of the cantonal minimum wage, warns the trade union federation. (SDA/sfa)