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Construction firm banned from Switzerland

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Construction firm banned from Switzerland
Photo: DPA
12:49 CEST+02:00
A leading German construction company that underpaid its workers by nearly €75,000 has been banned from operating in Switzerland for two years, a Swiss court said on Tuesday in the first ruling of its kind.

Basel's economy and labour office issued the ban against Bilfinger Berger after it heard how the company failed to properly pay 15 employees working on the Roche Tower in Basel, the Swiss weekly newspaper Der Sonntag reported.

Known as “wage dumping”, the company was found guilty of the practice of paying workers less than the standard rate set by the canton and industry. They were denied money for night and Saturday shifts.

The workers would be getting their owed wages – totalling nearly €75,000 - and Bilfinger Berger were ordered to pay a fine of around €30,000 as well as nearly €20,000 in administrative costs.

The continued strength of the Swiss franc against the euro has put pressure on Swiss wages, prompting concerns at the political level about pay controls being too lax.

Bilfinger Berger had said it would appeal the wage dumping decision initially made last May but earlier this month it decided to withdraw the appeal, the Basel economy and labour office confirmed on Monday.

Malcolm Curtis

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