Swiss Voters Reject Referendum That Would Limit Executive's Pay

| by

A Switzerland initiative to limit executives’ pay to 12 times that of the company’s lowest-paid employee was rejected by voters on Sunday. According to Fox Business, Swiss voters “voted 66 percent against imposing the limit,” called the “1:12 initiative for fair pay.” The plan was suggested by younger members of the Social Democrats party or JUSO who believe that no one should make “more in a month than others earn in a year.”

Still the president of JUSO, David Roth, has decided to take an optimistic view of the failed measure. “A year ago, opponents were defending high salaries,” he told Reuters, adding “No-one in Swiss politics would dare say that million[-dollar] salaries are justified.”

In fact, the measure was never really expected to pass. As Opposing Views reported last week, “although victory is unlikely, the initiative represents a growing concern over income disparity throughout the globe, especially in Europe.”

This vote is just one of several that seek to address the ever-increasing income gap between workers and the executives. Another such initiative is the idea of the basic minimum wage for its citizens, wherein every Swiss citizen would receive around $2,800 per month. This measure is considerably more popular than the 1:12 initiative.

Another initiative that has been well-received by voters allows company shareholders to have the final say over how much their executives are paid and discourages extravagant bonus packages. Whereas referendums that would increase the nationally-regulated annual vacation from four weeks to six and to reduce the working week from 42 to 36 hours both failed.

Still the major push behind the failure of the 1:12 initiative was not a rejection of the egalitarian philosophy it espouses. Instead, according to Fox Business, it was the pushback from many of the country’s financial firms that led to its defeat.