Swiss voters reject world’s highest minimum wage

GENEVA (AP) — More than three quarters of Swiss voters have rejected a plan that would set the world’s highest minimum wage. Under the proposal, Swiss workers would have been paid a minimum of $24.70 an hour.

Trade unions had proposed it as a way of fighting poverty in a country that, by some measures, features the world’s highest prices and most expensive cities. But voters were concerned about upsetting the country’s strong economy, and about driving costs even higher.

Switzerland’s economy minister said, “A fixed salary has never been a good way to fight the problem.”

Switzerland currently has no minimum wage. But the median hourly wage is about $37.

Also rejected by voters today — but only narrowly — was a plan to outfit the Swiss Air Force with 22 fighter jets at a cost of $3.5 billion.

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APPHOTO PK115: Voters cast their ballots in Bern, Switzerland Sunday May 18, 2014. Swiss voters were casting ballots Sunday on a nationwide referendum to introduce the world’s highest minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs (US $24.70) an hour. Voters also were deciding on three other citizen-inspired referendums, which are a frequent fixture of Switzerland’s unique system of popular rule that involves a weak federal government and 26 strong cantonal (state) governments. The other referendums, if passed, would provide the Swiss Air Force with 22 of Saab’s new Gripen fighter jets; impose a lifetime ban on convicted pedophiles working with children; and amend the constitution to support more family doctors in rural areas. (AP Photo/Keystone,Peter Klaunzer) (18 May 2014)


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