Across the globe, countries are struggling under the weight of economic instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here in South Africa salaries were cut and jobs were lost, along with revenue, placing us in a worse place than before the pandemic, when we were already in a recession.
We’re facing a nationwide problem reflected in Stats SA’s latest Labour Force Survey for the second quarter, which recorded 2,2 million job losses over the lockdown period.
It’s going to take some time to regroup and rebuild, and we currently don’t have the economic resources needed to fast track a solution.
In other parts of the world, however, solutions are gradually emerging to assist in alleviating the financial strain on those who suffered during the pandemic.
Following reports of growing COVID-19-related poverty, says The Guardian, Geneva, in Switzerland, has decided to introduce a minimum wage of almost £3 500 a month (upwards of R74 000).
Geneva, whose economy depends on tourist and business visitors, was hit particularly hard, amounting to growing queues of people outside food banks.
Half a million voters in Geneva’s cantons ( a subdivision of a country established for political or administrative purposes) passed the minimum wage proposed by local unions and leftwing parties.
The minimum hourly wage will be set at just under £19.50 an hour, more than twice the rate in neighbouring France, with a guaranteed minimum monthly salary of 4,086 Swiss francs (£3,457) based on a 41-hour working week, or 49,000 Swiss francs (£41,430) a year, in one of the world’s most expensive cities to live.
Michel Charrat, the president of the Groupement Transfrontalier Européen, supports the vote that ushered in the new minimum monthly wage:
“Covid has shown that a certain section of the Swiss population cannot live in Geneva … 4,000 (Swiss francs) is the minimum to not fall below the poverty line and find yourself in a very difficult situation,” Charrat said. He added the measure would benefit 30,000 low-paid workers, two-thirds of them women.
Wages in Switzerland can be regulated by authorities in the country’s 26 cantons.
While some have expressed concern that the higher wages will destroy jobs, the majority believe that these concerns are baseless.
I certainly wouldn’t say no to around R74 000 a month.
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