Is Swiss Labour Day Here To Stay? May 1st

Is Swiss Labour Day Here To Stay? May 1st

Wed, May 1st 2024

As the Swiss Young Finns campaign to abolish May 1st as a public holiday citing economic losses, trade union Syna launches a petition to make it a national day off, spotlighting workers’ rights.

KEYSTONE/Laurent Gillieron

Across Switzerland, May Day celebrations carry a powerful message this year with the slogan “Premiums down, wages up!” The Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (SGB) has seized the momentum from the recent success of the 13th AHV pension to push for further enhancements in workers’ welfare, particularly with the upcoming vote on the premium relief initiative scheduled for June 9.

The trade unions are vocal about the escalating health premium costs, which they claim are burdening families and eroding the middle class’s financial stability. This outcry comes amid the backdrop of what the unions describe as ‘unsocial’ financing of the healthcare system.

Alongside healthcare reform, there is a vigorous push for wage increases following years of what they describe as record-high profits and dividends for company owners.

Prominent political figures are set to attend various May Day events across the cantons, adding weight to the calls for reform. Federal Councillors Elisabeth Baume-Schneider and Beat Jans are scheduled to speak in Thun and Bern.

The Swiss Young Finns have proposed abolishing the holiday, arguing it leads to property damage and economic downturns. In contrast, the trade union Syna has launched a petition advocating for the day to be nationally recognised as a day off, to honour the increasing demands placed on workers.

In Zurich, expected disturbances have not overshadowed the significance of the rallies, where SGB chief economist Daniel Lampart is set to speak. Elsewhere, trade union leaders like Pierre-Yves Maillard will address the crowds in Biel/Bienne and Aarau, underscoring the unions’ resolve to fight for economic justice.

May 1st is acknowledged as a public holiday in several cantons, including Zurich, Basel, Thurgau, Schaffhausen, Neuchâtel, Aargau, and Ticino. This divergence in views represents a broader national discourse on the significance of May Day.


Related Stories

Stay in Touch


the swiss times
A production of UltraSwiss AG, 6340 Baar, Switzerland
Copyright © 2024 UltraSwiss AG 2024 All rights reserved