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

(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."

A banner is fixed at the window of a house in Wildhaus, Switzerland, to support the referendum.   (AP Photo/Keystone,Arno Balzarini,File)
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