30,000 rally in Switzerland to defend jobs

21st September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Demonstrators came from all over the country in response to a call by the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (USS).

Bern -- Some 30,000 people gathered in the Swiss capital Berne on Saturday to defend jobs threatened by the financial crisis.

The demonstrators, whose numbers were confirmed by organisers and police, came from all over the country in response to a call by the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (USS).

"We have had enough of 'bonus knights' and managers with excessive salaries," USS head Paul Rechtsteiner said, according to the ATS news agency.

"We want a real short-term political approach which will stimulate growth," USS spokesman Ewald Ackerman told AFP, adding that the measures taken by the government were "very insufficient."

Ackerman said the economic outlook was "very worrisome.

"We are approaching four percent unemployment," he said, adding that was "a lot" for Switzerland.

Switzerland's economy shrank 0.3 percent in the second quarter from the previous three months, according to statistics early in September.

The economy shrank 0.8 percent in the first three months of 2009. Exports contracted two percent in the second quarter, but that was improved from a 6.1 percent drop in the first quarter.

September's data also showed that the economy shrunk by two percent in the second quarter on a 12-month comparison.

Switzerland's central bank is forecasting a contraction of up to three percent over the whole of 2009. It also predicts a fall in gross domestic product of between 1.5 and two percent.

The Swiss government has launched three programmes totalling CHF 2.3 billion (EUR 1.5 billion, USD 2.2 billion) since November to ease the effects of the global economic crisis.

Meanwhile on Saturday 400 Swiss milk-producers suspended deliveries to protest low prices that are damaging their businesses, the industry association Big-M (Bäuerliche Interessengruppe für Marktkampf) said in a statement, repeating similar protests in France and Germany.

AFP / Expatica

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