Voters in Geneva, Switzerland have introduced a new minimum wage believed to be the highest in the world.
The Swiss city, which has a voter population of around 500,000, held a referendum with two-thirds supporting the minimum wage of $53,370 a year for any worker. This is about $4,510 a month, or $25 per hour.
The amendment, which had been rejected by voters twice before in 2011 and 2014, will now come into effect from October 17.
It is hoped that the new wage will tackle poverty, favor social integration, and contribute to the respect of human dignity, according to the voters.
While Switzerland has no national minimum wage law, Geneva is the fourth of 26 cantons to vote on the matter in recent years after Neuchâtel, Jura and Ticino.
Communauté genevoise d’action syndicale, the umbrella organization of unions in Geneva, described the result as “a historic victory, which will directly benefit 30,000 workers, two-thirds of whom are women.”
The decision was also praised by Michel Charrat, president of the Groupement transfrontalier européen, an association of workers commuting between Geneva and nearby France.
Charrat told The Guardian that the coronavirus pandemic “has shown that a certain section of the Swiss population cannot live in Geneva,” and argued that the new minimum wage is “the minimum to not fall below the poverty line and find yourself in a very difficult situation.”
The Geneva Council of State, the local executive branch, said in an opinion against the measure that the new minimum wage would be “the highest in the world.”