Swiss voters have decisively rejected a radical proposal that would have made it illegal for companies to pay any of their staff more than 12 times the wage of their lowest earner. Executive pay has been a hotly debated topic in Switzerland in recent months, with the country voting in March to ban golden hellos and golden goodbyes, amid popular and political outrage over revelations that Novartis planned to pay its outgoing chairman, Daniel Vasella, SFr72m ($79.4m) as part of a non-compete agreement. In the aftermath of that March vote, some polls had suggested that the traditionally business-friendly country, which is home to five of Europe’s 20 best-paid chief executives, might also back the more radical 1:12 initiative. However, in a referendum on Sunday, 65.3 per cent of voters rejected the idea.
David Roth, the head of the youth wing of the Social Democrats, which spearheaded the “yes” campaign, said he was disappointed by the result, but that the party would continue to fight against inequality.
“Although we didn’t manage to win, the campaign raised public awareness of the issue, which is an important achievement in itself,” he said. “We made fairness the number-one theme this year, and we will continue to fight to change the system.“
Business leaders reacted with relief to the rejection of the initiative, which they had argued would put Switzerland’s prized competitiveness at risk, as well as knocking a hole in the public finances by reducing tax receipts.
Full Article: Swiss voters reject wage caps in referendum – FT.com.