Swiss Voters Overwhelmingly Reject World's Highest Minimum Wage



Voters in Switzerland, which currently has no minimum wage, overwhelmingly rejected a referendum to create a minimum wage of at least 4,000 Swiss francs a month. Fully 77 percent said no, according to Businessweek.

Traditionally, wages in Switzerland have been negotiated by collective bargaining, with agreements covering pay, vacation days, and even retirement age. The median wage in the Swiss private sector was 6,118 francs last year. A gas station shop worker in Lucerne is paid 3,570 francs a month, while a 62-year-old music teacher in the city of Winterthur gets a monthly salary of 9,758 francs and six weeks of vacation, according to a 2014 study published by the Canton of Zurich Labor Ministry….

When adjusted for purchasing power, the Swiss wage would amount to $14.01 an hour, compared to $10.60 in France and $10.20 in Austria, according to OECD data for 2012….

Other reports say the wage would have been the equivalent of $25 an hour (presumably without adjusting for purchasing power).

More here.

Late last year, Swiss proponents of a guaranteed minimum income pushed for a vote on that. Nothing on that score has been scheduled yet, although here's an April 2014 PBS report on the concept that includes Reason contributor and Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy, the American Enterprise Institute's Charles Murray, and Bloomberg View's Megan McArdle. Last year, Swiss voters did pass a law limiting golden parachutes and other compensation issues for executives.

After Luxembourg and Norway, Switzerland has the highest per-capita GDP in Europe.

Last year, I wrote about American unions' attempts to double the wages of fast-food workers, to a minimum of $15 per hour:

Regardless of how much solidarity or sympathy you might feel about the people who assemble your Triple Steak Stack or your Cheesy Gordita Crunch, this sort of demand is economic fantasy at its most delusional and counterproductive. Doubling the wages of low-skilled workers during a period of prolonged joblessness is a surefire way not just to swell the ranks of the reserve army of the unemployed but to increase automation at your local Taco Bell.

Read whole thing here.

Reason on the minimum wage here.

Reason TV checked out last December's "Fast-Food Strike" in New York. You'll be surprised by what we found.