Geneva transport workers set to strike on October 12
After the original strike was called off by authorities in June, members of the Transport Staff Union (SEV) and Transfair in Geneva have voted once again to strike over salaries. Geneva’s commuters and workers should expect major disruption to public transport on October 12, 2022.
Geneva TPG workers vote for a strike on October 12
By a 70 percent margin, employees affiliated with the SEV and Transfair unions voted for strike action in Geneva, which is now set to take place on October 12. Both unions represent around 60 percent of workers at Transports publics genevois (TPG), the public transport provider in Geneva, including drivers, controllers, and technical and administrative staff.
The disagreement between the SEV, Transfair and TPG revolves around wages. In response to the heightened cost of living, the unions have demanded that workers on full-time work contracts receive a 1,2 percent pay rise alongside a one-off payment of 500 Swiss francs. TPG countered this offer with a 0,6 percent pay rise with a bonus of 400 francs. The company blamed the financial issues caused by the COVID pandemic for the lower offer.
With no agreement reached, both unions have now elected to strike on October 12. The workers had originally planned a strike for June 28, 2022, but were stopped when their case was referred to the Chamber of Collective Labour Relations.
Expect reduced public transport services in Geneva on October 12
If the strike goes ahead, people using the TPG network in Geneva, border regions of France and Canton Vaud should expect a “minimal service” throughout the strike day, with crowded trains, delays and cancellations likely. However, SEV spokesperson Aurélie Lelong told 20 minuten that if there was an emergency, such as a power line fall, “their door remained open to the management of the TPG for further discussions” regarding an immediate return to work.
Lelong said that the unions were demanding “the maintenance of the purchasing power of employees”, but “obviously, everyone will retain their individual freedom to work” during the strike day.
In response, TPG said it “regrets” the decision made by the unions and that it was ready to continue talking to them about proposals. Speaking to 20 minuten, TPG claimed that associations and other unions "have come out overwhelmingly in favour of the company's proposal." They also noted that the deal on the table is only for 2022 and “it does not prejudge the indexation of salaries for 2023, which will be addressed at the end of the year.”