Currently American citizens are feeling the burden of our troublesome economy forcing many to figure out a way to stay afloat. Some who are trying not to drown have taken jobs where the pay is not truly sufficient. Minimum-waged jobs are not appealing but if they are available they are snatched. The issue with minimum-waged jobs is that they do not meet the standard of living.
Because there is a dis-balance between the numbers of hours put into work versus the amount of pay received has incurred a negative response. This unfavorable work trend has resulted in many taking up the problem to protest for a better livable situation by fighting for a high wage increase for those working minimum-waged jobs. And those who protested won.
However, the protests were not in America but in Switzerland.
A petition was circulated demanding a monthly minimum wage of 2,500 francs (that is $2,800 in US dollars) for every working adult member of the country. The petition earned an estimated 120,000 signatories and that was enough names to be collected for a government vote.
“It could be one of the landmark historical moments, like the abolition of slavery, or the civil rights movement—of course, those who don’t want it will find excuses, but those who do want it will find solutions,” said Enno Schmidt, founder of the Basic Income Initiative, in an interview with news media RT.
The Basic Income Initiative is a movement throughout the European Union to offer each person in the “EU the unconditional right as an individual, to having his/her material needs met to ensure a life of dignity as stated by the EU treaties, and to empower participation in society,” according to the groups’ site.
And so far the group is trying to stick to its word trying to tackle low income wage-earning individuals.
The call for the increase will make it that anything lesser that the amount demanded (listed above) would be deemed illegal. Meaning, if those who are working in minimum-waged jobs receive anything less the place of employment could face problems. The date in-which the vote to be confirmed has not been set, but it is expected to take place at the end of the year. This expectation depends on the decision of the Swiss government.
The move for the increase in minimum-waged earnings has gained support across the entire Swiss government’s social democrat bloc. To show support for the bill a civil demonstration was held outside the Swiss Parliament in Bern this Saturday. A truck full of an estimated 8 million five cent coins was dumped on the square and spread out by demonstrators and supporters.
“If there’s anywhere that can finance this, it’s Switzerland. Right now we have the ball rolling—it’s down to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. It will then be up to lawmakers to determine exactly where the money will come from,” said Oswald Sigg, the former Swiss Vice-Chancellor.
If the vote does pass the funding for the new increase would be supplied by the Swiss social insurance system. However, there are opponents to the vote believing the increase will cause pension loss and rises in taxes.
“The older generation lived their whole lives in another system so it’s harder for them to actually realize what this means. They have fear, of course, for their pensions, and don’t instantly get that this is a replacement of an old system,” said Che Wagner one of the co-starters of the Basic Income Initiative, commenting on why some may fear the vote.
This upcoming November, the country will make a different vote regarding another initiative to place a cap on the executive pay regarding those who receive a pay at the maximum of twelve times the lowest paid salary member. A motion to slightly even out the pay levels of citizens to establish a more equal country.
In response to these changes one of Switzerland’s biggest CEOs has said that if the cap passes, he will contemplate uprooting his company out of the country and moving it elsewhere.
“I can’t believe that Switzerland would cause such great harm to its economy,” said Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.
While the plans to make a country more equal has both its pros and cons the example set by its people is one that should be noted. Seeing a problem with the levels of equality amongst its citizens, Swiss civilians responding by gathering together and taking part in an initiative to change and change this imbalance.
They did not march.
They did not burn things down.
They did not result to violence.
All that was done to be heard was sign a petition and participate in a peaceful demonstration. In our country’s past, America has embraced similar acts of demonstration condemning injustice seen within the country and government. What has built our country—the Civil Rights Movement and protesting wars—the act of speaking out has somehow fallen.
According to findings, in the United States of American the typical fast-food worker earns roughly $1,500 per month. A monthly wage that must be stretch in order to survive on for a single person, and truly pulled at if it also supports a family.
Our government is currently in a shutdown due to politicians who claim to have “our” interest at mind. Can you say for sure if this is true?
In a day where you can tweet your thoughts, post your status condemning some pop star or reblog a gif of a cute cat with a pizza become more political active to better our future should take precedence. We have been an example to other countries in demonstrating against injustice, and now we should look at other countries protesting against their government to see what changes we can make.