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  #41  
Old 29.11.2011, 18:13
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

No transport is provided to get them to and from work I can assure you. Why couldn't supermarket employ cleaners themselves and cut the agency out. They don't use an agency for other employees.

My neighbour gets 25 to 30 CHF because she works for herself and will not accept any less. Good for her.
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  #42  
Old 29.11.2011, 18:15
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I was curious about research on this topic and found this particular paper online.

http://www.epi.org/publication/briefingpapers_bp150/

The author looks at situations in the US where minimum wage increases were postulated to contribute to an increase in unemployment, but the author offers alternative explanations. There's also a fairly well known study of fast food restaurants in Pennsylvania and New Jersey (right on the border) showing an increase in minimum wage in NJ did not impact employment rate in the area.

Of course, there is research contradicting this so you have to look at the assumptions. I thought the assumptions here were actually well done accounting for the costs of leaving a job and hiring, and the author paid a lot of attention to the quality of data collected. He looked at employment rates in the US for states with varying minimum wage, concluding that...

Many states without minimum wages set above the federal level (including Michigan, Illinois, South Carolina, and Texas) also had high unemployment rates in December 2003.

Hawaii, Delaware, and Vermont, three states with higher minimum wages, were among the 15 states with unemployment rates less than 5% (the national average was 5.7%).

Of the 12 states with higher minimum wages, eight saw a smaller increase in unemployment between 2000 and 2003 than the national average.

Perhaps not applicable to Switzerland, perhaps so. But it is using data rather than anecdotal examples, so it's an interesting comparison. Of course, the author admits that this discussion will continue. Anyway, something to think about.
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  #43  
Old 29.11.2011, 18:17
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

Frontaliers used to work for cheaper - not surprising considering everything is much cheaper on the French side- apart from fags and petrol they bought here on their way home. So Unions made sure it became illegal to pay frontaliers cheaper than the approved scale. The French workers are of course laughing all the way to the bank now due to exchange rate (wasn't long ago that it was the other way round) - apart from those who chose to buy houses in France with a Swiss mortgage in CHF. As I said before, the number of workers earning less than 3800 is only about 10%, most of them women and foreigners- and in jobs where no official scale is in place.
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  #44  
Old 29.11.2011, 19:01
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

A minimum wage would be quite moronic. It's the socialist way of thinking that people should establish thoughtless rules and other people follow. It just doesn't work like this. If someone is accepting a wage, it means the person sees some benefits, otherwise why accept it.

The consequences of establishing a minimum wage would be increased unemployment and clandestine worker.
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  #45  
Old 29.11.2011, 19:10
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

What is a difference with official scales approved with the Unions though? As said, most jobs in Switzerland belong to a trade where this is the case. 10000s of French in my area travel into CH everyday to work in the watch industry and in services like hospitals, old people's homes, etc - THEY HAVE TO BE PAID THE SAME as the locals (currently due to exchange rates though, %ly very well indeed). But a French person cannot come over and say 'well the exchange rate is excellent at the mo, so I'll work for 40% less. They would be lynched.
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  #46  
Old 29.11.2011, 19:31
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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What is a difference with official scales approved with the Unions though? As said, most jobs in Switzerland belong to a trade where this is the case. 10000s of French in my area travel into CH everyday to work in the watch industry and in services like hospitals, old people's homes, etc - THEY HAVE TO BE PAID THE SAME as the locals (currently due to exchange rates though, %ly very well indeed). But a French person cannot come over and say 'well the exchange rate is excellent at the mo, so I'll work for 40% less. They would be lynched.
The Union is a PRIVATE entity negotiating with the employer, another PRIVATE entity, both at their own free choice. They are able to negotiate a compensation package that is an acceptable compromise to both parties. This negotiated scale can be different based upon the employer, the industry, the union, the type of work the employees are doing, and can be renegotiated as circumstances dictate.
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  #47  
Old 30.11.2011, 14:56
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

You sound just like the most hated woman in Britain, yes she is still alive.

Forget all that clap trap you learnt at business school, think about the Portugese agriculture worker looking for a job for his wife and son. He isn't interested in inflation, or if his job will be there next year, he wants some money to buy the family a return ticket home for a holiday.

The Swiss Construction Industry GAV has not been agreed, they are disagreeing by around one per cent salary. I wonder how much of an increase you received last Christmas?

Swiss workers need Unions, the conditions here are poor compared to our neighbours, http://www.unia.ch/Unia-activities.586.0.html
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Old 30.11.2011, 14:59
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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Here are some back of the envelope calculations I did as I've had this on my mind.

Imagine a cleaning company with 5 employees, plus the owner.

Owner pays the employees 16.50/hour, and bills customers 50/hour.

In an 8 hour day, each employee could generate 6 hours of billable time, considering time getting ready at the base, travel to the clients etc.

So, in a week the 5 employees generate 7500 CHF. They cost 4500 (16.50 plus AVS and all the crap, around 22.50/hour).

They get 4 weeks vacation, so in a year they generate 48 weeks of billable time- 360,000. 360,000 minus their cost (4500x52) of 234,000= 126,000 CHF.

So after their cost, the owner has 126,000 CHF. With that he has to pay for the cars/vans, rent on the base office, supplies, phone, all that stuff. Let's put a conservative number of 3000/month on costs. He's got 90,000 francs. He's the one with all the risk, he fills in when an employee is sick, he organizes all the work; I would say he puts in his 40 hours each week and probably considerably more. He's not getting rich off his workers.


Now- if the workers are bumped to 20/hour, and suppose his employee costs come to 25/hour total, that leaves him with 100,000 to run the business and pay himself. After costs that's 64K for the headaches of managing a business and 5 employees, is it worth it? So he shuts down and there go 5 new unemployed folks.

Of course he probably already pays on average more than 16.50/hour, that may be a starting salary, as Odile pointed out her neighbor makes 25/hour. So he may well put considerably less than 90k in the bank each year (before taxes of course ).

Question: can anyone fill in some unknowns here? What are cleaning companies charging per hour to clients? What are independent cleaners charging? From the above it seems clear that if a company is charging 50/hour or less they will have a hard time staying afloat if they pay their workers more than 16.50.
Here are the GAV rates for cleaners in 2010, probably not a living wage?

http://www.unia.ch/uploads/media/201...schschweiz.pdf
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  #49  
Old 30.11.2011, 16:40
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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Question: can anyone fill in some unknowns here? What are cleaning companies charging per hour to clients? What are independent cleaners charging? From the above it seems clear that if a company is charging 50/hour or less they will have a hard time staying afloat if they pay their workers more than 16.50.
1. Great post that shows the problem with low income businesses in high income countries.

2. A completely legal cleaner paying taxes charged me 33 Chf an hour in Zurich for one of her employees.

How does it work:
- keep the overheads small. You do not really believe that the travelling times is not billed, do you?
- up-sell. From what I got is the every day cleaning work "to cover the bills" while appartment handover cleaning jobs are the profitable part.

But honestly: this problem is just the same with as without minimum wage - the legal cleaners today compete with illegal ones who use their "tax advantage" to undercut prices. A minimum wage that is around the current salary would not really affect this, a minimum wage hugely over the current ones does.
But honestly: The idea of a minimum wage is to ensure that everyone has a decent life and does not need three jobs to make ends meet on a miserable level... and no, I do not think we should take the US as a role model how a fair and decent society should look like. Reality is that many countries with minimum wages, say the Nordics, do quite well and a lunch doesn't cost twice as much there as in Zurich... I do not think that the minimum wage should be higher than 16 CHF, but just to make it clear: Switzerland is usually a bit behind it's neighbours in slow social changes. One of the least talked about one but most significant in my eyes happened in Germany over the past 20 years: Did you know that 20% of Germans are "working poor" earning less than 4,75 Euro (Western Germany) / 3,42 Euro (Eastern Germany)?

I think this is a very bad development and a wealthy society should take measures to prevent this. Of course can one argue with anything from inflation to slightly higher prices, but the reality is that nobody would suddenly fire all cleaners - if there is a demand there is a market. On the other hand could I also argue with higher crime rates, lower life quality (even for the richer part of the society if you have to be scared to go out at night...), social peace, strikes... the question is not only a commercial one: How much is a society willing to support the poorer parts? How much is the population willing to spend to make none of their members living in absolute poverty? Minimum wages are just ONE tool in an entire set to have a socially stable society - and they are one of the more difficult ones to manage.

From what I have seen are low jobs in Zurich fairly well paid and yes, 16 CHF is ok in my eyes. So the tool is currently not really necessary in CH while long overdue in Germany...
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Old 01.12.2011, 12:11
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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Forget all that clap trap you learnt at business school, think about the Portugese agriculture worker looking for a job for his wife and son. He isn't interested in inflation, or if his job will be there next year, he wants some money to buy the family a return ticket home for a holiday.
Not sure what relevance business school has anyway i.e. arguments about or against minimum wage hardly exist in business schools.

Whats wrong with the Portuguese worker finding work in Portugal? Could it be that there is a lower supply of jobs there?

A Portugese worker is freely allowed to chose where he wishes to work in most of Europe. Its a choice to come to one place over another. He either wishes to be employed at a wage or he wishes to be unemployed and get nothing (usually the choice in Portugal), thats the choice. Its not good or bad, but thats how supply and demand usually works. A wage isnt calculated on how many kids you have or how many flights to Portugal you need to take. Thats all irrelevant.

Portugal: 12.5% unemployment, 18% living below poverty line, 900Euro average salary per month (where can you fly to with that salary after expenses?) and a nearly bankrupt country that will most likely need to default on some of its debt. Expect much more unemployment there in the forseeable future. The Swiss should stick to models that have worked for them, not trying to copy ones from failed states.


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Swiss workers need Unions, the conditions here are poor compared to our neighbours, http://www.unia.ch/Unia-activities.586.0.html
The neighbours are bankrupt or heading in that direction if you havnt noticed. Even the German situation looks pretty rocky and all the evidence you need is to check how many Germans are coming to CH every month to MOVE.

The Swiss have done very well without being heavily unionised. Unions in my opinion do have their place, especially in maintaining worker safety requirements. But why not just keep people employed instead of trying to damage a working system (which aint perfect of course). The problem being that people think you can have the cake and eat it too. More demands from unions are possible to realise, but there is a limited amount of resources, therefore something or someone loses or gets negatively affected. The usual victim is lower employment (higher unemployment) which puts pressure on standards of living i.e. they drop.
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Old 01.12.2011, 12:54
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

We are discussing minimum salary here, not median nor average.

In my example below, the cleaners earn above the proposed minimum wage of CHF 16

http://www.unia.ch/uploads/media/201...schschweiz.pdf

So why all the fuss? The workers need a safety net against unscrupulous employers

viz: http://www.20min.ch/finance/news/story/20272093

From June to October 2011, 14 construction workers from Slovakia were paid 5 per hour at the Swiss Finance building site in Bern. (Swiss Finance explicitly stated in the contract that GAV wages must be paid)

In September 2011, the Unia had protested against the construction of the new Bern municipal waste incineration plant against low wages. They criticized the fact that on this construction site, about 40 welders were working on very low wages from Bosnia.

The proposed minimum wage of CHF 16 will not cause inflation, nor raise unemployment, because nobody in Switzerland is usually paid such little money!
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  #52  
Old 01.12.2011, 13:02
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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You sound just like the most hated woman in Britain, yes she is still alive.
Who would that be?

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Forget all that clap trap you learnt at business school, think about the Portugese agriculture worker looking for a job for his wife and son. He isn't interested in inflation, or if his job will be there next year, he wants some money to buy the family a return ticket home for a holiday.
Ummm, I learned this in High School Economics in the US, never mind business school. Supply & Demand Economics and artificial floors & ceilings are basic concepts. Where did you get your economic education? Have you even taken an Economics class, macro or micro?

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The Swiss Construction Industry GAV has not been agreed, they are disagreeing by around one per cent salary. I wonder how much of an increase you received last Christmas?
1% sounds like they're getting close to an agreement without government intervention. I'd say let them finish sorting it out themselves.

As to my salary, I did not receive any increase in the final 16 months at my last job (including last Christmas), part of why I was happy to leave. I am currently still unemployed, as I don't have work sponsorship here in Switzerland.

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Swiss workers need Unions, the conditions here are poor compared to our neighbours, http://www.unia.ch/Unia-activities.586.0.html
Like Lex said, the 'neighbors' are going under. 'Keeping up with the Joneses' (as we like to say in the US) would mean potentially taking similarly crippling levels of debt as those economies.

As Margaret Thatcher said, "The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples' money to spend." She was to whom you were referring, earlier, correct?
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  #53  
Old 01.12.2011, 13:19
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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We are discussing minimum salary here, not median nor average.
Agreed. I haven't seen too many posts that have strayed far from this.

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So why all the fuss? The workers need a safety net against unscrupulous employers
Because employers are evil and they intentionally oppress their workers. They're not people like you and I, with values, hopes, and dreams. They all live in uber-rich enclaves and are chauffered to work in tinted limos. None of them are middle class, living in a modest apartment and riding public transit to work, simply earning what they can after all their employees, vendors, overhead costs, and taxes are paid.

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From June to October 2011, 14 construction workers from Slovakia were paid 5 per hour at the Swiss Finance building site in Bern. (Swiss Finance explicitly stated in the contract that GAV wages must be paid)
This sounds like the contractor who employed the workers is in violation of the contract, and Swiss Finance can seek damages in court (As long as the work was performed correctly, I don't know what actual damages can be claimed). Other than that, the workers agreed to work at this wage, and the employer agreed to pay them that wage, so I don't see where the government needs to step in.

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In September 2011, the Unia had protested against the construction of the new Bern municipal waste incineration plant against low wages. They criticized the fact that on this construction site, about 40 welders were working on very low wages from Bosnia.
Obviously these Bosnians are coming here to work because they believe their opportunities are better here than elsewhere. As long as they are employed legally, I don't see a problem with it. The Unions can fuss about the competition all they want, but their workers have to be economically competitive in order to get these jobs.

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The proposed minimum wage of CHF 16 will not cause inflation, nor raise unemployment, because nobody in Switzerland is usually paid such little money!
If its so low that nobody is, nor will be paid at that level, then why go to all the trouble and expense of trying to implement a useless minimum wage? IMHO, the only purpose could be to establish the existence of a minimum wage, so that politicians can win electoral 'brownie points' by continually raising it until it does start to matter. Minimum wage law is more about vote-getting than it is about helping anyone economically.
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Old 01.12.2011, 13:29
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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The Swiss Construction Industry GAV has not been agreed, they are disagreeing by around one per cent salary.
In the news today, the employers are refusing to discuss the matter any further with the union: they object to the workers' street demonstration.

So it looks like more strife in the future, and all for 1%. But hey not to worry, around us are very poor people who will gladly come here and work for €5 per hour, raising profits for the owners of course.

One of our neighbours has the strongest western economy, and for 60 years they have worked with GAV national wage agreements. Companies talking to unions and paying decent wages. No inflation, low unemployment.

I find it remarkable that people can sit on Internet all day and pass judgement on some poor foreigner, who comes here to earn a living wage, not a get rich quick banking ex-pat, just a poor exploited worker. One expects that slavery has been abolished, but it hasn't, and "head in the sand" attitudes will not help our society become any fairer.
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Old 01.12.2011, 14:18
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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We are discussing minimum salary here, not median nor average.
Yes so am I. You chose to mention a Portugese worker, I told you what he can expect in Portugal where he no longer 'chooses' to live.

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From June to October 2011, 14 construction workers from Slovakia were paid 5 per hour at the Swiss Finance building site in Bern. (Swiss Finance explicitly stated in the contract that GAV wages must be paid)

In September 2011, the Unia had protested against the construction of the new Bern municipal waste incineration plant against low wages. They criticized the fact that on this construction site, about 40 welders were working on very low wages from Bosnia.

The proposed minimum wage of CHF 16 will not cause inflation, nor raise unemployment, because nobody in Switzerland is usually paid such little money!
Sbrinz, I am hardly going to defend the construction industry. It is one of the least transparent industries in almost any economy i.e. there is a reason why organised crime has many hands in construction (im not necessarily talking CH here).

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I find it remarkable that people can sit on Internet all day and pass judgement on some poor foreigner, who comes here to earn a living wage,
First of all, you need to get your facts right. Your the one passing judgement remember? And you have it all wrong.

The 5 euro an hour is a terrible salary to live in Switzerland. But you need to take you swiss glasses off and see that they are working for this salary to live in Slovakia NOT Switzerland. Why do you think the greasy employer is giving them free accomodation (cramped and stingy of course)? - by the way this free accommodation is also a part of their salary. Slovakia has a high unemployment rate and they are re-patriating most of their money to family back home. This is what Im trying to tell people here, your argument should be against the 'free movement of workers act', the minimum wage does not solve this if this is the main concern. With this 'act', even a minimum wage will fail to stop these people coming here because they will do so illegal. And even worse for swiss employees, they will know exactly where to undercut the swiss. i.e. They will pick a number UNDER the minimum wage MINUS the risk (i.e. fine) the greasy employer may face if caught. Why do you think the construction industry WANTS the free movement of people? Its their best source of cheap labour - pay 'their home country' wages but sell they're products in Swiss prices. This is also the major issue with globalisation and it is very complicated. There is no simple answer apart from stopping unnecessary regulations putting an even greater burden on Swiss industry.

In regards to Bosnian's, its the same thing. Bosnian average salary is 500 odd euro per month. And 43% of Bosnians are unemployed. Where do you think their Swiss salary is heading, no wonder they can work for less than the Swiss. They should increase the fines on these employers instead.

Now you and the Union can pretend to care about these foreign workers, but its a load of hogwash the Union doesnt care. The union cares about the pay of its 'Swiss workers' which is being undercut - thats the case here. I dont claim to know the answer, just that minimum wage isnt the one - and in fact just puts more uncompetitive cost on Swiss employees who suffer - end result, more Swiss unemployment.
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  #56  
Old 01.12.2011, 14:27
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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In the news today, the employers are refusing to discuss the matter any further with the union: they object to the workers' street demonstration.
That's their choice, just as it is your choice to disagree with the employers. I would like to see both choices protected.

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So it looks like more strife in the future, and all for 1%. But hey not to worry, around us are very poor people who will gladly come here and work for 5 per hour, raising profits for the owners of course.
If it its just 1%, why don't the unions come off it? Why is it that the employer has to be the bad guy? Without employers, there would be no jobs.

So those poor people should be denied their legal opportunity to come and work, simply because they are willing to work for less? And, who's to say that the employer is 'raising profits' by employing these people? Might it also be possible that this is the only way the employer can make any profit at all?

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One of our neighbours has the strongest western economy, and for 60 years they have worked with GAV national wage agreements. Companies talking to unions and paying decent wages. No inflation, low unemployment.
Which country? And it sounds like you are talking about private agreements, which are perfectly fine, IMHO. It is when the government starts using its powers to force a minimum wage onto the market that I start having issue.

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I find it remarkable that people can sit on Internet all day and pass judgement on some poor foreigner...
You keep pointing out instances where foreign labor is undercutting Swiss labor, not others.

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...who comes here to earn a living wage...
What is a living wage? Who defines what a living wage is? IMO, its the decision of the person earning the wage to decide if the wage offered is a 'living wage,' not employers, and not the government.

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not a get rich quick banking ex-pat, just a poor exploited worker....
Because being intelligent, motivated, hard-working, and skilled so you can earn a high salary makes you get-rich-quick, right? The employers you keep trying to villify are no different than you or I- they work at a job, for which they would like to get paid as much as the market will bear. That doesn't make them get-rich-quick. Also, BTW, there's yet another reference to foreigners.

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...One expects that slavery has been abolished, but it hasn't, and "head in the sand" attitudes will not help our society become any fairer.
Okay, so get your head out of the sand. 'Fairness' is highly subjective; as I've said before, I don't think any two people will agree on the exact same definition of what is 'fair' in the world. As long as someone has more of anything, there will be someone else who has less, claiming that it isn't 'fair.' Never mind that the first person might've worked harder, taken more risks, and made sacrifices to get ahead, they're still villified by the second person.

As to 'slavery,' any of these workers are free to pursue other jobs or vocations- nobody is forcing them to stay against their will.
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Old 01.12.2011, 14:44
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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This is what Im trying to tell people here, your argument should be against the 'free movement of workers act', the minimum wage does not solve this if this is the main concern. With this 'act', even a minimum wage will fail to stop these people coming here because they will do so illegal.
Do I get it right:
- the minimum wage will not stop illegal workers.

- Schengen is to blame for illegal workers.

Sorry, but that is just stupid SVP propaganda: Illegal workers dont care about laws. They existed before Schengen and will do so after any minimum salary. No law will stop them, cause they already now break the law and don't seem to bother too much...

The freedom of movement does NOT allow salary dumping. You are not allowed to employ Eastern Europeans according to their home countries laws in Switzerland. So anyone who plays by the rules today has to give them a Swiss work contract.
However, since there are no minimum wages does this completely legal contract not mean that they arent working for far too low salaries.

On the contrary: With a legal minimum salary is there less incentive to get legal foreign workers into Switzerland. The news that never arrived at the SVP: Schengen is a reality and everyone before was expecting to be swamped by millions of Eastern EU immigrants. Never happened. Because if you have to pay them the same as locals they aren't so attractive investments anymore.
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Old 01.12.2011, 15:52
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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Do I get it right:
- the minimum wage will not stop illegal workers.

- Schengen is to blame for illegal workers.

Sorry, but that is just stupid SVP propaganda: Illegal workers dont care about laws. They existed before Schengen and will do so after any minimum salary. No law will stop them, cause they already now break the law and don't seem to bother too much...

The freedom of movement does NOT allow salary dumping. You are not allowed to employ Eastern Europeans according to their home countries laws in Switzerland. So anyone who plays by the rules today has to give them a Swiss work contract.
However, since there are no minimum wages does this completely legal contract not mean that they arent working for far too low salaries.

On the contrary: With a legal minimum salary is there less incentive to get legal foreign workers into Switzerland. The news that never arrived at the SVP: Schengen is a reality and everyone before was expecting to be swamped by millions of Eastern EU immigrants. Never happened. Because if you have to pay them the same as locals they aren't so attractive investments anymore.
Well SVP isnt really the discussion here, at least not from my point of view. But i guess throw it in if your so inclined.

Yes, it is unlikely that a legal foreign worker wishing to work in Switzerland will be hired over a local if both their wages are the same. The issue here is with the minimum wage and what it costs i.e. who loses - or alternatively, are there any negatives. Yes illegal workers will always exist if they are inclined to be that way. But there are many things that can encourage them to become illegal also - and that puts them at at least some advantage over the local workforce. How Switzerland compares with the rest of the EU can be up for debate, but I still think its a lot better here than elsewhere.

Small to medium businesses are probably the sectors that are affected to a larger extent than larger employers. Considering they form a bulk of the employers - anything that affects this sector is significant. In my opinion if their costs increase than ultimately it is existing and future employees who suffer because there is only 'x' amount that is allocated in the budget for labour, that is often the case whether the business is profitable or not. Unemployment is the end result when costs start to bite employers. The unemployment in turn then becomes a cost to society through possibility of welfare/benefits that are paid through the taxes of employees and employers i.e. a part of their income is removed to pay for it. It is a costly and terrible cycle (more welfare equals more tax which just puts more burden on prior groups), as many European countries are figuring out.

In my opinion priority should focus on how to encourage business to employ locals, not how to discourage less people opening businesses.
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Old 01.12.2011, 15:58
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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No law will stop them, cause they already now break the law and don't seem to bother too much...
So a minimum wage law won't help?

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On the contrary: With a legal minimum salary is there less incentive to get legal foreign workers into Switzerland...

So a minimum wage law will help?

I'm very confused. Which is it?
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Old 01.12.2011, 16:34
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Re: Vote on minimum wage- what would you do?

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So a minimum wage law won't help?




So a minimum wage law will help?

I'm very confused. Which is it?
- a minimum wage won't help against illegal workers. It wont stop global warming either or win the war on terror.

- a minimum wage does help against salary dumping. Honestly: To believe blindly in the logic of a free market without limitation is naive. We have by now centuries of experience and tried the past five decades or so to tame raw capitalism a bit. Quite successfully, but it seems like the successes are challenged time and again. I for one am happy that people in most parts of Europe don't need to be as scared of poverty as many Americans. Yes, some people at the lower end of society do need a bit of protection. I personally prefer this to come from the entire society aka government instead of trade unions. Mainly cause the strikes annoy me and are a complete unnecessary "tradition" that could be settled in more effective ways.
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