Swiss cast ballots on world’s highest minimum wage

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss polls have opened for voting on a nationwide referendum to introduce the world’s highest minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs ($24.70) an hour.

Voters also cast ballots Sunday on three other citizen-inspired referendums. Switzerland’s unique system of popular rule involves a weak federal government, 26 strong state governments and regular national referendums on issues.

The other referendums, if passed, would provide the Swiss Air Force with 22 of Saab’s new Gripen fighter jets; impose a lifetime ban on convicted pedophiles working with children; and amend the constitution to support more family doctors in rural areas.

Trade unions back the wage proposal. Surveys indicate that most voters side with government and business leaders, who argue it would cost jobs and economic competitiveness.

Switzerland currently has no minimum wage.

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