Swiss to vote on $25 an hour minimum wage


#1

usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/05/16/swiss-minimum-wage/9166687/

GENEVA, Switzerland – A vote on Sunday to establish a minimum wage of $25 an hour would make mostly immigrants here in agriculture, housekeeping, and catering among the world’s highest paid unskilled workforce.

The vote comes after hundreds of fast-food workers walked off their jobs in many U.S. cities and in more than 30 countries on Thursday in a protest for higher wages. If the Swiss proposal passes, the country would have the highest minimum wage in the world.

But some who would be eligible for the higher wage worry that it may do more harm than good.

Luisa Almeida is an immigrant from Portugal who works in Switzerland as a housekeeper and nanny. Almeida’s earnings of $3,250 a month are below the proposed minimum wage but still much more than she’d make in Portugal.

Since she is not a Swiss citizen, she cannot vote but if she could, “I would vote ‘no’,” she says.

“If my employer had to pay me more money, he wouldn’t be able to keep me on and I’d lose the job.”

Almeida’s concern illustrates the dilemma that faces the movement to have governments and not the market decide how much people should be paid at a minimum.

Forcing employers to hike wages means they must cut expenses to accommodate the higher labor costs. That often means less hiring, or some firing.

But Patrick Belser, Senior Economist in the Wage Group of the International Labor Office in Geneva says the initiative could work.

“International experience has shown that minimum wages can prevent labor exploitation without any negative effect on the economy,” he said.

Yet, Besler worries that a minimum wage of $4,500 a month "is probably a little too high.


#2

$25/hr is not enough. We should demand, at a minimum, $50/hr. It is not fair that some make that much and others don’t and we need to fix it.

:wink:

Peace

Tim


#3

If you want to kill jobs in this country and further destroy the economy, that would do it.

That’s ridiculous, that comes out to 52 grand a year. I was laid off my job last month and my severance of 1 years worth of pay doesn’t even come out to that.


#4

“If my employer had to pay me more money, he wouldn’t be able to keep me on and I’d lose the job.”

So, she loses her job and is worse off. Others perhaps keep their jobs and are better off, except maybe for more inflation.

Is it the government’s job to decide who wins and who loses?


#5

Good for her. My take home every 2 weeks when employed was roughly $1,200.

Luisa Almeida is an immigrant from Portugal who works in Switzerland as a housekeeper and nanny. Almeida’s earnings of $3,250 a month are below the proposed minimum wage but still much more than she’d make in Portugal.

Since she is not a Swiss citizen, she cannot vote but if she could, “I would vote ‘no’,” she says.


#6

I hate to see people under needless stress and I think increasing the minimum wage would reduce wage-earner’s stress and frustration.

LOVE! :heart:


#7

Wow, there goes the dollar menu. :smiley:

Then again, if minimum wage goes up to $25.hr, then my salary will go up significantly…but then again, so will the cost of everything else. :rolleyes:


#8

Rather then have the government set the minimum wage at where it is; I’d much rather employees organize and collectively bargain for their wages. That way each contract can be tailor-made for each company since not all companies can pay what the government demands and if the unions, employees and company are all on board as to what the company can afford reasonably and still stay in business, that would work much better in the long run. :slight_smile:


#9

Except the lady who loses her job will have much higher stress and frustration.

But–don’t the Swiss have legalized drugs? Surely–that can help her deal with stress and frustration. No job, no money, no problem.


#10

If the lady looses her job and is unable find another, then she should be entitled to welfare until such a job becomes available.

LOVE! :heart:


#11

Well, everyone pretty much loses IMO, because the total amount of work done decreases, while the compensation (adding everyone together) remains about the same.

How can the government say, “Any job that isn’t worth $25 an hour should never be done,” anyway?

Also I hope there is some exception for the under-18s who won’t ever get to work at all if they have to be paid $25/hour.

Good grief.

–Jen


#12

Well, there you go, the answer to all of life’s problems - forced higher wages or welfare.

How about this. The woman is satisfied with her salary because it means that she can keep working. Why not let her boss pay her at her current wages instead of forcing the government to give her money (welfare)?

Peace

Tim


#13

It’s social justice that I’m concerned about, and increasing the minimum wage is an important step in the right direction for most wage-earners.

LOVE! :heart:


#14

I will admit, in all my global travels, Switzerland was the most expensive country I ever worked it. It even beat out Monaco.

I make a decent salary as an engineer, but I could not imagine living in Switzerland.


#15

Yes, I was thinking that Switzerland had a very high cost of living. The article mentions that the average salary in that country is 50% higher than the average salary in the US.

Still, $25/hour in Switzerland would be similar to the proposed $15/hour in Seattle. What might be worth noting is that the vote on the $25/hour minimum wage is due to a citizen referendum. Anyone can submit such a referendum if they gather 100,000 signatures. Here in the US, we saw a citizen referendum in San Francisco which would have banned male circumcision. Simply because someone submits a proposal for a vote doesn’t mean it has much chance of passage. The news article mentions that 64% of the Swiss public is opposed to the idea.


#16

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 2.8% of workers made at or below the minimum wage. Many of those people work at restaurants and receive tips, so their actual pay is higher than their hourly earnings.

So much for your argument that an increase in minimum wage is an important step in the right direction for MOST wage earners.

Just paying people more is not the answer.

Peace

Tim


#17

Of which probably $20/hour would be returned to the Swiss government in taxes.


#18

So what’s your answer for reducing the amount of financial stress low wage earner’s experience?

LOVE! :heart:


#19

Getting out-dated money grabbing unions involved is worse than getting Democrat’s in Washington invovled. If that were to happen, your $20 meal for 2 at Applebees becomes a $40-50 meal for 2. :rolleyes::eek:


#20

Put your big boy pants on and stop depending on a minimum wage job to make a living flipping burgers at MickyD’s.


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