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  #21  
Old 24.08.2011, 16:21
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

I too highly doubt that increased work hours will have a dramatic effect....but I guess that's definitely better than losing a job or taking a pay cut.
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  #22  
Old 24.08.2011, 16:25
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

Employees would probably show less reluctance to accept longer working hours due to extraordinary circumstances if the situation were reversed as soon as said extraordinary circumstances do not prevail any more. It is more likely however that such changes would be made permanent as time goes by and people forget about the initially temporary nature of the measure.
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  #23  
Old 24.08.2011, 16:26
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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The problem will be that unless you work in an assembly line is it very hard for me to believe that these few minutes a day do in fact have a major outcome...
In this you have my full agreement but until middle level managment and employees start to proactivley suggest ways to increase either productivity or to provide some sort of cost savings that will allow the organisation to bring it back into profit, then they are stuck trying these hair brained schemes that are not going to solve the problem.

There has to be transparency both ways so that the employees can feel like they can make an active contribution to ensure that the company can survive.
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Old 24.08.2011, 16:41
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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In this you have my full agreement but until middle level managment and employees start to proactivley suggest ways to increase either productivity or to provide some sort of cost savings that will allow the organisation to bring it back into profit, then they are stuck trying these hair brained schemes that are not going to solve the problem.

There has to be transparency both ways so that the employees can feel like they can make an active contribution to ensure that the company can survive.
I'll be honest with you: It won't work.

Switzerland has since WW2 been a very high price country and the production oriented industry in the more competitive markets - say textile or electronics - has long moved away. Switzerland has a huge amount of jobs in relatively small SME with high tech products made for niche markets. These companies are really innovative, but they have to: They were always "too expensive" and have always had the problem to justify the production costs to international buyers. With the current CHF you are simply out of the scale:

My employer makes software. A good developer costs here some 80-100 k CHF a year. We sell our stuff to countries like Pakistan, Malaysia or Thailand. They can hire an army of developers for the cost of our developments team. So you need to be absolutely cutting edge to win contracts - the customer must believe that even with the manpower he lacks the know-how to build an own solution for less money. And if you then are suddenly 20% more expensive than say your EU or US competitor who has comparable products - you will not win. Half an hour longer a day won't change this. Cutting the salaries won't change it (cause it will only make the best people leave the company and find other local CH jobs...).
I honestly have no solutions and do not think this is a unique case either - it just does not work to produce stuff in the most expensive country and sell it to the low cost ones unless you have some absolutely unique features nobody can copy and that are worth a huge premium for the customers.

"I can only accept it if it also works the other way" makes no sence either - the CHF went from "very strong" to "insanely strong"... there has been hardly a weak Swiss frank in decades.
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Old 24.08.2011, 16:52
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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The problem will be that unless you work in an assembly line is it very hard for me to believe that these few minutes a day do in fact have a major outcome...
Precisely! I work in development support. Me sitting at my desk for an extra 30 minutes a day will have absolutley no effect on how much the guys in Production will churn out during the week. And the same goes for the other 2/3 of the company.
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Old 24.08.2011, 16:52
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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I never heard of that before. If there is a downturn, why do they need more hours? (I assume making some people redundant?)

More normally here, in the case of downturn, they cut hours and pay (Kurzarbeit) and the difference (or some of it) is paid centrally.

But I never heard of a situation like yours....very odd
I thought the same, but I have some friends whose hours have been increased from 42 to 45. They say it just means they have more coffee breaks...
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Old 24.08.2011, 16:55
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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Employees would probably show less reluctance to accept longer working hours due to extraordinary circumstances if the situation were reversed as soon as said extraordinary circumstances do not prevail any more. It is more likely however that such changes would be made permanent as time goes by and people forget about the initially temporary nature of the measure.
You're probably right. Especially if this is a change to the contract. They'd presumably have to go through the consultation, cancelling contracts and issuing new contracts all over again.
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  #28  
Old 24.08.2011, 16:57
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

I'd be interested to know under what conditions the number of hours would return to 42.5 from the higher amount. That would be an important point for me if I were subject to such an increase.

Firstly, it gives you an inkling of whether there is really a logical reason for the increase. Secondly, it gives you something firm to stand on when arguing for the previous arrangement to return.

Probably, they've just picked some excuse out of the air ("downturn") to impress their higher-ups. Other potential excuses in other circumstances could be "economy is booming, we are so busy" or "economy is doing nothing, but the competition is intense in this flat market".

You (original poster) are not wrong to be annoyed by this!
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  #29  
Old 24.08.2011, 16:58
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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Precisely! I work in development support. Me sitting at my desk for an extra 30 minutes a day will have absolutley no effect on how much the guys in Production will churn out during the week. And the same goes for the other 2/3 of the company.
It will work if they say that they are getting 6% more hours from each worker so they cut the total workforce by 6% .....
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  #30  
Old 24.08.2011, 17:00
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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"I can only accept it if it also works the other way" makes no sence either - the CHF went from "very strong" to "insanely strong"... there has been hardly a weak Swiss frank in decades.
CHF was above 1.50 for 1 euro less than 2 years ago and above 1.65 in most of the second half of 2007, the highest rate in the past 12 years.
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  #31  
Old 24.08.2011, 17:07
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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Probably, they've just picked some excuse out of the air ("downturn") to impress their higher-ups. Other potential excuses in other circumstances could be "economy is booming, we are so busy" or "economy is doing nothing, but the competition is intense in this flat market".

You (original poster) are not wrong to be annoyed by this!
I honestly can't imagine they're hurting for business at the moment. Seems like plenty of people are out there paying their prices. Perhaps they're just exercising some conservatism in case it gets worse down the line.

Nonetheless, a new contract would have to be in order to protect workers from abuse in case the "temporary" situation never goes away....
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  #32  
Old 24.08.2011, 17:23
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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I honestly can't imagine they're hurting for business at the moment. Seems like plenty of people are out there paying their prices.
The issue seems to be that they pay labour in CHF (and their product is labour intensive), but get paid mainly in USD or EUR.

Plus, it's not a done deal yet. It might not make it through the consultation.
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  #33  
Old 24.08.2011, 17:46
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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No. I've a salary and a senior position in my company. I also work & travel way less than most of my clients at pharma/biotech companies. So all-in-all I'm happy with my situation.

As for proud. No. In the current marketplace, I'm grateful for the job I have.
mmm...I work in a pharma/biotech company.. interesting insight into the world of suppliers....
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  #34  
Old 24.08.2011, 17:58
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

Let's of course keep in mind here that it is not a marginal situation here. There is still play in the Swiss economy.
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  #35  
Old 24.08.2011, 18:51
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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The issue seems to be that they pay labour in CHF (and their product is labour intensive), but get paid mainly in USD or EUR.

Plus, it's not a done deal yet. It might not make it through the consultation.
We pay in Yuan, Won, and Euro, but get paid in CHF which is cool at the moment, but do you think my company is going to scrub a couple of hours off my working week to balance out the strong Franc? Fat chance.
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  #36  
Old 24.08.2011, 19:06
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

45 hours per week is the legal maximum for normal hours worked here. But you can be expected to work up to 55 hours for special reasons such as a short term production squeeze. The resulting overtime must be taken with time off as soon as possible.

Also controlled is the length of meal breaks: after 5 hours continuous work you must have a 30 minute break.
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  #37  
Old 24.08.2011, 19:17
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

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I never heard of that before. If there is a downturn, why do they need more hours? (I assume making some people redundant?)

More normally here, in the case of downturn, they cut hours and pay (Kurzarbeit) and the difference (or some of it) is paid centrally.

But I never heard of a situation like yours....very odd
The point here of them increasing the working hours for the same money is so that they do not have a need to make redundancies and lay people off they in theory get more productivity (5.88%) for the same expense. I would have NO problem with increased working hours to 45 when the other possibility is a loss of my job or 10%-20% pay cut.

People should be more grateful that they are living in a country with low unemployment, low taxes and great possibilities rather than being back in their home countries which has high unemployment, high taxes and low standard of living.
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  #38  
Old 24.08.2011, 23:30
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

Just got the lowdown on the situation:

- 45 hours per week starting in a couple of weeks
- reduced benefits (health, meals, transport, etc.)
- huge layoffs
- new contracts offered to everyone who's left

With our first baby on the way, it's gonna be quite a ride
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  #39  
Old 24.08.2011, 23:40
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

As colinwheeler said above, you either lump it or change jobs.

You could try to brave it out (i.e. refuse to have a new contract and therefore be made redundant and go to the RAV to sign on unemployment; or they make you an exception and keep you on with the current hours). I would do that,but then I'm stubborn and don't care too much about keeping a job. I can find another one, or live off RAV/savings for a while. I actually enjoy the excitement. But I have no dependents and can return to London and live on very little if necessary.
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:49
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Re: Increased Work Hours due to the Economy

Will they commit to a reduction in hours during an upturn ?

Last edited by Upthehatters2008; 25.08.2011 at 00:02.
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