Salaries in Switzerland forecast to rise in line with inflation in 2024
In a statement, the Swiss trade union Travail.Suisse has forecast that salaries in Switzerland are expected to rise in line with inflation in 2024. After several years of declining purchasing power, the union predicted that most - but not all - workers covered by collective bargaining agreements would benefit from higher real wages.
Salaries in Switzerland to rise in line with inflation
In the report, Travail.Suisse wrote that, thanks to recent wage negotiations, “The purchasing power of employees has been secured or even slightly strengthened in most industries.” They predicted that those on work contracts covered by union-negotiated collective bargaining agreements would see real wages rise slightly in 2024.
“In this year’s wage negotiations, the bottom line was that we were able to negotiate slight real wage increase for employees,” wrote the head of policy at the Syna union, Nora Picchi. “Various wage agreements in sectors with low wages, for example among hairdressers, will also bring significant improvements to employees in the medium term.”
Unionised workers to receive an above-inflation pay rise
The union noted that those working unionised jobs would receive an above-inflation wage rise in 2024. In a limited number of sectors, such as in the aforementioned hairdressing business, pay is set to rise faster than inflation. The Syna union managed to negotiate a 700-franc-per-month minimum pay rise for hairdressers next year.
The announcement follows three years of declining real pay in Switzerland, thanks to bouts of inflation brought on by the end of the COVID pandemic and global events such as the war in Ukraine. In November 2022, a study by Swiss bank and investment firm UBS revealed that despite receiving the biggest pay rises for 15 years, people in Switzerland had suffered the biggest loss in purchasing power since World War Two.
Government and construction workers lose out
Travail.Suisse noted that unions have not been successful in all areas, with officials unable to secure higher pay for those working for the Swiss government and the construction industry. “We are disappointed and worried about how carelessly the federal government, as an employer, denies its employees cost-of-living compensation… The significantly higher cost of living must be offset for all employees,” wrote Greta Gysin, head of the Transfair union.
What’s more, officials predicted that while unionised pay would rise, “In the economy as a whole, real wages are likely to remain stagnant" in 2024. “Purchasing power will remain under pressure in the coming months, despite the overall satisfactory wage negotiations, further cost increases for rents, health insurance premiums, electricity and taxes are already around the corner in 2024,” continued Travail.Suisse head of economic policy Thomas Bauer.
“It would be clearly too early to give the all-clear,” he concluded.
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