Whereas Switzerland has no nationwide minimal wage regulation, Geneva is the fourth of 26 cantons to vote on the matter in recent times after Neuchâtel, Jura and Ticino.
“This new minimal wage will apply to about 6% of the canton’s employees as of November 1st,” Geneva State Counselor Mauro Poggia informed CNN in a press release.
A measure launched by residents
The Swiss system of direct democracy calls on voters to train their proper 4 instances a yr, and permits residents to gather signatures to introduce “standard initiatives” to be enacted.
“On two events prior to now, initiatives to set a compulsory minimal wage in Geneva had been submitted to the inhabitants and rejected,” stated Poggia, who’s accountable for the Division of Safety, Labor and Well being for the Geneva canton.
The 2 earlier votes came about in 2011 and 2014, and within the newest case, it was a nationwide referendum to introduce an hourly minimal wage of 22 Swiss Francs, which discovered 76% of voters had been opposed.
“On 27 September, a brand new vote on this topic was lastly accepted, for a wage of 23 Swiss Francs per hour, or barely greater than 4,000 Swiss Francs per thirty days for an exercise of 41 hours per week,” Poggia added. That is roughly $4,347 per thirty days.
Whereas a $25 per hour minimal wage may look staggering from the angle of america, the place the federal minimal wage is $7.25 an hour, context is vital.
Did coronavirus affect the vote?
Michael Grampp, Deloitte’s chief economist in Switzerland, stated he believed the coronavirus pandemic had an affect in figuring out what number of voters had been in favor of passing the minimal wage initiative. Low earnings employees within the service sector had been essentially the most affected by the lockdown measures put in place in Switzerland.
“I feel many individuals realized how many individuals are working in these sectors. It isn’t like everybody right here is working for a financial institution or a chocolate manufacturing unit. We even have a broad service sector that was hit laborious as a result of lockdown,” Grampp informed CNN.
“It undoubtedly helped push the vote in the direction of virtually 60%,” he added.
Grampp believes extra cantons will enact minimal wage laws. However Poggia stated he would not consider the pandemic had a major affect on the vote.
“In comparison with different international locations, given the robust social safety protection in Switzerland, the financial results of Covid are at present being contained, although job losses are already occurring within the sectors which were immediately affected, reminiscent of tourism, accommodations and eating places,” he stated.
Lengthy traces at no cost meals
These job losses are forcing individuals to hunt assist.
Hernandez informed CNN the group he now works for, the non-profit Colis du Coeur, helped an estimated 6,000 to 9,000 individuals every week in the course of the summer season, distributing luggage of recent produce and dry items sourced via donations, the official Geneva meals financial institution, and numerous charitable teams. Colis du Coeur is continuous meals distribution via the winter.
Hernandez stated he believes the adoption of the minimal wage initiative in Geneva was “crucial,” as unemployment represents an existential risk for thus many low earnings employees within the metropolis. “It should boil right down to not having sufficient to eat,” he stated.
Geneva is named the humanitarian capital of the world due to the presence of so many worldwide organizations and UN places of work specializing in humanitarian affairs. Hernandez stated solidarity within the metropolis “is way stronger lately than regular,” as individuals reply to requires donations in nice numbers, serving to the meals distributions to proceed.
To those that are skeptical about poverty being a problem in a rich nation reminiscent of Switzerland, Hernandez invitations individuals to not decide.
“I come from a slum in Manila initially, so it is true, it isn’t the identical form of poverty, however in the event you’re hungry, you are hungry. That is a benchmark you can’t deny,” Hernandez stated.
Correction: This story has been up to date to mirror Hernandez’s affiliation with Colis du Coeur, and to make clear the position of Colis du Coeur and different charitable organizations concerned in meals distributions in Geneva.