14 June marked the anniversary of the massive mobilisation and strike action of women workers across the country to highlight persistent gender inequality. Latest figures show a gender pay gap of close to 20% and an even higher pensions gap of nearly a third. With major mobilisations impossible in the current situation, a week of online and local actions were organised in the week beginning 8 June to highlight the urgent need for action to tackle inequality.
Collective Bargaining, Gender pay gap, Switzerland
Following the national women's strike last month, the vpod/ssp public services union has set out a range of demands to tackle gender inequality across the public services and with particular measures in the childcare, health and education sectors. The union wants to see equal pay auditing of all public employers with the involvement of the union and an across-the-board pay increase for occupations and sectors dominated by women - particularly care jobs. Along with this the union underlines the importance of stable and reliable working hours and a range of measures in relation to maternity and
The vpod/ssp public services trade union along with the SGB/USS trade union confederation is continuing to build for the national women's strike planned for 14 June. The aim of the strike is to address 10 major issues including the gender pay gap, work-life balance, working hours that are either too short or excessively long, sexual harassment and violence, inadequate pensions and the undervaluation of women's work. Along with strike action the unions will be organising events and actions at workplaces and towns and cities across the country.
The vpod/SSP public services union has called on the government to ensure it budgets for a pay increase of at least 1.5% for all federal employees. Working with other public service unions, the vpod/SSP says the government should now end its austerity policies towards its employees, particularly in the light of a CH Fr 5 billion surplus. The unions are worried that the government will use the surplus to cuts taxes and argue that federal workers haven't seen a real increase in pay since a 0.7% rise in 2014 and so a pay rise should be a priority.
On 11 December hundreds of employees of the Zürich cantonal (regional) government mobilised in a demonstration over pay. Their union, vpod/ssp, said that a survey of members had revealed widespread dissatisfaction over pay and the loss of purchasing power over recent years. A key negotating demand from the unions as a first step in restoring real pay levels is a 2% increase for all workers earning up to CH FR 100000 a year, with a 1% increase for those earning above that level.
The SGB trade union confederation and the vpod public services union have called for a general wage increase of between 1.5% and 2.0%. But the vpod also highlights the need to address the fall in real pay in the public services as well as the importance of ensuring higher pay for jobs dominated by women. Meanwhile the federal court has thrown out a challenge to a proposed minimum wage in the Neuenberg Canton, opening the way to implementation of an hourly minimum of CHFr 20 (€17.50).
(April 2017) The vpod public services union has welcomed the negotiation of a new collective agreement that covers around 18000 workers employed by health institutions in the Bern region. Nursing staff, doctors as well as catering and cleaning staff will all be covered by the agreement which will come into effect on 1 January 2018. There will be a new pay system and improved paternity and adoption leave in some institutions along with other benefits like additional holidays. The minimum wage in the agreement will be CHFr 4000 (EUR 3750) per month over 12 months although the unions were aiming
(February 2017) The vpod public service union has won a court case against the Canton of Zürich which had refused to recognise the trade union as a negotiating partner, agreeing only to negotiate with the VPV federation of unions that vpod had been a member of over10 years ago. The union says it will continue to defend its right to negotiate even if the Canton appeals the case to the federal or European court.