Swiss Voters Dump Plan to Ax Executive Pay
Salaries would have been capped at 12 times lowest
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2013 1:01 AM CST
A banner is fixed at the window of a house in Wildhaus, Switzerland, to support the referendum.   (AP Photo/Keystone,Arno Balzarini,File)

(Newser) – A measure that would have ensured bosses didn't make more in a month than their lowest-paid workers made in a year has been voted down in Switzerland. The 1:12 Initiative for Fair Pay, which would have capped executive salaries at 12 times that of their lowest-paid employee, was rejected in a referendum by a margin of around two to one, reports the Wall Street Journal. Its opponents warned that it could drive corporations out of the country, an argument supporters called a "fear campaign" that obscured the issue of rising wealth inequality.

"Of course we are disappointed. But I also believe that we have an achievement nonetheless," the chief of the Social Democratic Party's youth wing tells Reuters. "A year ago, opponents were defending high salaries. Today no one is doing that. No one in Swiss politics would dare say that (such) salaries are justified." Despite the initiative's failure, some execs are still going to have to tighten their belts: A referendum earlier this year overwhelmingly approved a measure to give shareholders much greater control over salaries and ban one-off bonuses like "golden handshakes."

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Showing 3 of 25 comments
Nov 26, 2013 7:44 AM CST
This is a good direction, It totally screwed up when a company names a CEO and after a few years the company loses money and boots him out the door with a 10 million dollar bonus. That's just F*#ked up. Or when the Banks got bailed out after losing Billions Still paid out bonuses with bailout money. That's bullshit.
Nov 25, 2013 4:13 PM CST
How about we keep our noses out of executive pay altogether. If you don't like how much a corporation pays its executives, don't buy from that company. Using the government to pass laws based on envy, is disgraceful and certainly below the United States.
Robert Barrows
Nov 25, 2013 3:57 PM CST
Re: Swiss voters rejecting Executive pay curbs... Here is a song that might go very well with that controversy. It's a song I co-wrote called "Big Bucks." Big Bucks is all about pulling down big money. “It don’t take brains, It don’t take brawn. I only hope it don’t take too long.” You can hear a free clip of Big Bucks at and there is also a link on that page where you can download the song for 99 cents on iTunes. If money is indeed the root of all evil, you’re going to love a song called “Big Bucks.”