Swiss citizens in a national referendum rejected the proposal to introduce the world's highest minimum wage, according to local news sources.
Trade unions proposed a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs (about $ 25) per hour of work. The monthly minimum wage should therefore be about 4 thousand francs (4.5 thousand dollars).
Initiators of the referendum argued that it is necessary to maintain a decent standard of living. Opponents believe that such measures will increase production costs and lead to higher unemployment, especially among young Swiss people.
Swiss people hold most of referendums in the world. According to statistics from the Federal Chancellery, almost every third referendum on the planet takes place in Switzerland.
Federation of Trade Unions, which initiated the current referendum argue that increasing the minimum wage is necessary because of the high standard of living in major Swiss cities such as Geneva and Zurich.
The unions are unhappy that Switzerland - one of the richest countries in the world - has not officially specified level of minimum wage, while in neighboring France and Germany it is already defined.
Thus, recently agreed minimum hourly wage in Germany, Europe's largest economy, will be 8.5 euros (about 11.5 dollars) in 2017.
Trade unions in Switzerland claim that it’s impossible to live on less than four thousand francs a month for ordinary citizen, primarily because of high housing prices, medical insurance and food.
A key element of the campaign in favor of the establishment of the minimum wage was the argument that the Swiss social security system is now forced to subsidize businesses that refuse to pay employees a living wage.
However, managers of large companies and government believe that low unemployment and high living standards of the majority of citizens of the country means that no changes are needed.
Small businesses, particularly Swiss farms, are concerned that the requirement to pay employees at least four thousand francs would increase food prices and scare off buyers.
The lowest paid workers in Switzerland are employed in the service sector - hotels and restaurants - and most of them are women.
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