GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Jobs, jobs, jobs, and a little organic Swiss malt for your beer, in Monday’s Swiss news roundup.
Universal income, no thanks says Bern
The Federal Council has taken a stance against the June 5 ballot item that proposes universal income for all Swiss citizens. To no one’s great surprise, the cantonal governments are also opposed.
Bern’s argument: a universal income of CHF2,500 a month for adults would have a significant negative impact on the economy, those who currently earn less or about the fixed amount (mainly women) would have little motivation to work, the cheap labour pool would dry up, jobs would be moved outside the country and black market workers would increase.
Children under age 18 would receive CHF675 a month if the popular initiative passes.
Jobless rate dip
Unemployment eased from 3.7 to 3.6% in March, compared to February, with 155,324 persons registered as out of work. The number of individuals was up by 7%, however, compared to March 2015.
Foreigners account for nearly half of the jobless, with a rate of 6.1%, compared to 2.2% for Swiss workers. Portuguese workers and people from the western Balkan countries have the highest numbers of unemployed, per regional or national group.
WWF jobs gradually moving from Gland
News media 24 Heures reports Monday morning that the WWF in Gland is gradually ending jobs or transferring what appears to be 100 staff out of 170. It reports on the move at the end of a one-year internal consultation period, noting that the WWF has not issued a public statement and that there is no clear timeframe. The head office will reportedly remain in Switzerland, in Gland.
Organic maltery producing in Geneva
A maltery, or malthouse, is now providing local malted barley to a number of Geneva brewers, thanks to an initiative that began in 2011.
The last Swiss maltery disappeared in the 1960s, but with the growing interest in local beers and micro-brewing, farmers in Geneva decided it was time to put their grains to work for breweries. The Cercle des agriculteurs is a cooperative of 235 farmers in the canton who manage the cereals business.
The maltery in Satigny produces up to 250 tons of malt a year. It’s called Epc 2-4; the legal use of Pils or Pilsener is reserved for the Czech Republic under a trade and intellectual property agreement signed by Switzerland.
The barley is organic, certified GRTA (Genève Région Terre Avenir), with weeding the only crop treatment. The harvest is checked for quality, stored and during the year it is treated: soaked 24-48 hours, then given four to six days to germinate, at which point the grains are dried so the brewer can heat them to the desired toasting degree.