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.

NEXT: Greg Beato Asks, Are Slacker Gamers the New Philanthropists?

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  1. They voted to reject getting their country flooded with cheap illegal immigrant labor.

    1. I don't think changing the minimum wage has an effect on the amount of immigrant labor. It should cause an increase in the proportion of workers who are paid under the table.

      1. Jerry's referring to a vote they held a year or two ago.

    2. When I was working there, there was a flood of cheap legal immigrant labor. At least based on the waiting line at the TB x-ray center, which was a requirement at the time.

      I dont think they have an illegal immigrant problem.

  2. You know, I suspect that Harry Lime wasn't a proponent of the minimum wage. Or of the Swiss, come to think of it.

    1. You know who was a proponent of the Swiss?

      1. The Pope?

      2. Brewster Dairy?

      3. William Tell?

      4. Little Debbie?

    2. Harry Lime = the libertarian who lives in Proggies' minds

  3. There is an EPIDEMIC of sexual assault on college campuses!

    ABC is on the case.

      1. Don't worry. That's why the forced focus on campus race all of the sudden.

        We'll find those rapists, whether they exist or not! We'll make them up if we have to! Borrow some robes and torches from one of those warmist cults and get to the witch hunt!

        1. What's especially grating is that there are places where rape and sexual abuse are disturbingly common...it's just that those places tend to be inner cities and other low income areas of the country rather than colleges.

          I guess progressives don't care when black women are getting raped. When a poor black woman gets beaten and raped at gun point that's apparently less of a priority than a middle class white girl choosing to drink too much at a party and having sex with someone she wouldn't have otherwise.

          You know, because progs care so much about the poor.

          1. You know, because progs care so much about the poor

            Of course they do, that's why they're willing to provide free abortions. With your money, of course.

    1. I'm sure the rape epidemic was a revelation that that the ABC reporters had whilst taking a shit in a Lerner Hall bathroom stall...

      Binders full of rapists..

  4. It may delusional fantasy land asking to double wages to the economically literate and people who understand how business functions, but people advocating it don't care. They just believe or think everyone will adjust to their demands - unintended consequences be damned.

    1. When Happy Meals cost $40 and a gallon of milk is $10, the proggie leaders will scream 'Kochtopus!' and the mindless minions will fall in line like lemmings.

      1. FOOD DESERTS!!1!

  5. Society fired that poor woman from the NYT, not the owner of the paper.

    "I blame society. Society made me what I am."

  6. Why are the Swiss so economically illiterate? Don't they know that paying a high living wage is essential?

    1. Um, the headline says "overwhelmingly reject," and the article says 77% voted No.

      People in the lefty minority put forward the proposal - as citizens are entitled to do - but the voters shot them down by an embarrassing margin.

      1. Oh, wait, sorry, missed your sarcasm. I should be more alert.

      2. It's interesting that the Swiss seem to have a much better handle on this. Now Seattle, they're going to get it good and hard.


  8. That video was pretty neat though. It does confirm what I had assumed about these protests. They are the product of political organizations and do not really represent a majority of anyone. Looks like fun though if you don't want a real job. Like flipping burgers.

  9. Re the Harry Lime quote in the alt-text:

    "they had brotherly love"

    No, they had an army and and armed citizenry.

    "500 years of democracy and peace"

    They had various wars - foreign and civil - during this time. They finally got their act together and telegraphed their willingness to resist like heck if invaded. But it wasn't 500 years of peace.

    1. "the cuckoo clock"

      Not to mention banking secrecy. And the Swiss Army knife.

      1. Don't forget their cheese and chocolate.

        1. Plenty good timepieces besides the cuckoos. And Bernoulli. And the guards. And the system. And drugs, lotsa drugs.

        2. Or the sarcasm.

          1. Or the humor.

            1. Or, heaven forbid, the alt-text altogether.

  10. The Swiss are all a bunch of illiterate dummies anyway. I hear that 0% of the population can even read, write, or speack Swissese!

    1. Word. Those dummies can't handle Swissese, so they muddle along in French, German, Italian, and English.

      1. ROMANSCH! You forgot Romansch, dammit! You totally othered 5% of their population.

    2. Have you ever tried listening to Schwyzerd?tsch? I don't think the Swiss understand it either.

      1. Ive seen them try to spell it...they cant agree on even the simplest of common phrases.

        There is a reason they teach only in high german from 2nd grade on.

  11. Allllllllllllt Tex Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnn!

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