Will 1:12 Become a Reality For the Swiss?

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The 1:12 campaign has captured the attention of the Swiss public in addition to Swiss lawmakers.

The campaign is one of many aimed at relocating the nation’s wealth, somewhat, evenly amongst the nationals of Switzerland. This campaign in question is hoping to have their referendum approved and changing the pay structure with particular emphasis on the lowest and highest paid employees. If approved, this will ensure that CEO’s of companies across the country do not make more than what their lowest paid employee will make in a year. This will instil some form pay equality amongst employees of a company.

David Roth, the organizer of this campaign, said, “In recent years, we’ve seen high salaries get higher while other salaries have stayed at much the same level, especially in terms of ordinary people’s disposable income. It has become obvious that something is wrong.”

Since the financial crisis, people have gained increase insights into the inequality of the pay scale, particularly when studying the incomes of chief executives. This has slowly began to escalate when Swiss pharma company, Novartis, signed an agreement offering to pay 72 million Swiss Francs to outgoing chairman Daniel Vasella in order to keep him discreet with regards to his knowledge of their business.

Due to public outcry, the pharma-giant was not permitted to go ahead with the payout, however many members of the Swiss public to lose trust in the way the economy was running. Shortly after these events took place, majority of the public agreed to a referendum that would ban welcome packages in addition to hefty severance packages.

This is just one of many new legislations that the public is hoping for. Currently, discussions of a potential minimum wage are being held. In addition, like much of the world, new emphasis has come to light concerning taxing wealthy foreigners.

However, there is a large opposition to this wage adjustment. Rudolph Minsch, employee of Economiesuisse, argues that it would be detrimental to the overall economy. He explained that the reason for the success of the Swiss market is that firms are allowed to locally set the salaries of their employees. He said, “Deciding on wage levels is not a matter for the state. It is one of the key competences of every enterprise. And the freedom of enterprises to determine wages is a key reason for Switzerland’s success.”

A poll was done during September to measure the responses of the public so far and the study described a 54% against the referendum versus 36% with the referendum while 10% of the population have yet to make a decision.