Swiss Nix Minimum Wage

by Dave Schuler on May 19, 2014

Swiss voters have rejected a $25/hour minimum by 3 to 1:

BERLIN — Swiss voters resoundingly rejected on Sunday a proposed minimum wage that would have been the world’s highest, a move widely seen as reflecting an aversion to state intervention in the liberal economic policies that are the bedrock of Switzerland’s prosperity.

Trade unions had sought a minimum hourly wage of 22 Swiss francs, or $24.65, in what they said was an effort to ensure fair salaries for workers in the lowest-paid sectors, such as retailing and personal services. Switzerland has no national minimum wage.

As the article notes, the Swiss generally believe that wages are best negotiated between workers or their unions and employers. That’s what is meant by “liberal” in the context of the article.

The out-sized minimum wage would mostly have applied to unskilled foreign or rural workers and I’m a bit surprised by the result. I saw the measure as being mostly anti-foreign. The Swiss have rejected it which I would see as a favorable sign.

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