Voters in Switzerland blocked a vote this afternoon that proposed instituting a countrywide minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs (roughly $25/hour) with a 76.3% majority. Switzerland currently has no minimum wage.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the median hourly wage in Switzerland is about $37 an hour and the current highest minimum wage in the world is in Luxembourg at $10.66 an hour. If the vote had passed today, Switzerland would have the highest minimum wage in the world by more than double.
As reported in the AP:
Trade unions had proposed it as a way of fighting poverty in a country that, by some measures, features the world's highest prices and most expensive cities.
But opinion polls had indicated that most voters sided with the council and business leaders, who argued it would cost jobs and erode economic competitiveness, driving Switzerland's high costs even higher.
The Swiss Economy Minister, Johann Schneider-Ammann, was glad that the vote hadn't passed, claiming that "a fixed salary has never been a good way to fight the problem." In Bern, Schneider-Ammann spoke to a news conference:
"If the initiative had been accepted, it would have led to workplace losses, especially in rural areas where less qualified people have a harder time finding jobs," he said. "The best remedy against poverty is work."
Voters also rejected a motion to outfit the Swiss Air Force with 22 new fighter jets.
[Image via The Guardian]