Swiss voters reject purchase of fighter jets, high minimum wage

The plan would have brought 22 fighter planes to Switzerland for $3.5 billion.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   May 19, 2014 at 1:48 PM

BERN , Switzerland, May 19 (UPI) -- Swiss voters narrowly defeated the purchase of fighter jets for its military, and resoundingly rejected the world's highest minimum wage.

The plan to purchase 22 Gripen fighter jets, made in Sweden, for $3.5 billion saw 53.4 percent voting against it and 46.6 percent in favor. Defense Minister Ueli Maurer decried what he called "the void that will be created in our country in terms of aviation security."

Providing Switzerland with a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs ($24.70) per hour -- supported by trade unions as a way of fighting poverty -- was rejected as well, with 76.percent of voters rejecting the idea and 23.7 percent voting in favor.

Switzerland, regarded by some indices as the world's highest prices and living costs, currently has no minimum wage, but the median hourly wage is about 33 francs ($37) per hour.

Opinion polls indicated most voters agreed with business leaders and industry councils, who argued the proposed high minimum wage would cost jobs and reduce competitiveness.

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