Swiss/EU Framework Agreement: Red line of wage protection must be preserved

​The Swiss Federal Council has decided not to sign the existing draft of the Institutional Framework Agreement with the European Union. This clears the way for renegotiations. What is needed is a good framework agreement which respects the red line of wage protection. First, however, the Swiss People’s Party’s (SVP) head-on attack on the free movement of people and its flanking measures must be defeated.

The Swiss Federal Council’s negotiating mandate was in fact clear from the outset: without independent wage protection and without the flanking measures to the free movement of people, there will be no framework agreement with the EU. The Swiss chief negotiator Balzaretti unfortunately saw things differently. It is thus only logical that we are now facing renegotiations with the EU.

Seco report proves: Flanking measures are more crucial than ever

The latest report from Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) on the implementation of the flanking measures shows that wage dumping is a massive problem in Switzerland and wage protection measures are more vital than ever! Last year, violations of the applicable wage and working conditions were found in 24% of all companies inspected. See the most important results in this video (in German):
The existing flanking measures therefore represent a minimum of wage protection and must be expanded – without discrimination. They are not negotiable and thus have no place in any framework agreement.

Switzerland and Europe deserve a better framework agreement

Free movement of people, non-discrimination and strong workers’ rights are the basis for social progress across Europe. Bilateral relations between Switzerland and the EU can only be further developed on this basis.

The fact that the Swiss Federal Council has with its latest move again made a clear commitment to independent wage protection takes this into account. It is not a signal against Europe – but one in support of the rights of all workers, not only in Switzerland, but throughout Europe. I am convinced that a framework agreement that puts the principle of “equal pay for equal work in the same place” into practice is better for both sides.

Cancellation initiative must be defeated

The first task now is to defeat the cancellation initiative/referendum of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). It is a dangerous head-on attack on the free movement of people and the flanking measures to protect wages. The fight against this harmful initiative is now a top priority.

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