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Swiss workers reject proposal to increase annual paid holiday

London, Tue, 13 Mar 2012 ANI

London, Mar 13 (ANI): Swiss voters have said no to increasing their four weeks' annual paid holiday to six.


Switzerland's political system of direct democracy is centred around referendums, which have been held on topics ranging from health insurance to smoking bans.


Polls closed on Monday night on several national referendums, including the one about increase in holidays, which was pushed by trade union Travail.Suisse.


Two-thirds of voters are said to have rejected the proposal, which would have brought the mountain nation in line with most other West European countries.


The trade union had argued that four weeks holiday was insufficient because the pressure of work had increased so much in recent decades, causing rising stress and health problems.


Swiss television said initial figures showed the proposal had been rejected by a clear 67 percent of voters.


The union said the referendum had taken place at a bad time due to serious economic concerns surrounding the euro zone crisis.


"For many voters, it was understandable that current concerns about their own jobs took precedence over the long-term welfare of people and Swiss business," the Daily Mail quoted Travail.Suisse as saying in a statement.


"With their fear-mongering campaign, the opponents of the initiative played with the uncertainty of workers," it added.


The main employers' association, which had lobbied hard against the proposal, welcomed the result.


"The 'no' to the holiday initiative means above all a 'yes' to the maintenance of the competitiveness of Swiss companies and the securing of jobs," it said in a statement.


It had argued that longer holidays would hurt firms already battling to cope with the impact of the safe-haven franc that has soared since the financial crisis, driven in particular by investors fleeing the euro zone.


In 2002, Swiss voters rejected a proposal to cut the working week to 36 hours from 42 hours. (ANI)


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