To help balance its books after the economic shock of the coronavirus epidemic, the canton of Geneva decided to cut public sector pay by 1% and adjust pension deductions.
The plan, which affects 50,000 public sector workers and aims to help fill a budgetary hole of CHF 501 million, was announced by Geneva’s government in September 2020.
The measure is temporary, will last for four years, and is considered an act of solidarity given that 50% of the private sector has been hit by the crisis, head of state, Antonio Hodgers, told RTS.
In response, the public sector union Cartel Syndical and some public sector workers decided to call a half-day strike on 15 October 2020. The union has also warned of a second strike on 29 October 2020.
Union leader Françoise Weber, described the pay cut as unacceptable. He said we cannot expect workers to pay the bill for Covid and we cannot expect them to pay for recent corporate tax cuts, referring to tax reforms completed last year following the phasing out of special tax deals previously offered to foreign companies to relocate to the region.
In addition, the union says the pay cuts are greater than 1% after the changes to pension deductions are included.