Uproar in Italy after Swiss region vote to block foreign workers

Agence France-Presse . Geneva

Italians were up in arms Monday after the southern Swiss canton of Ticino voted for a measure that would force employers to prioritise local residents over commuters living in Italy.
The text, entitled ‘Ours first’, was put to a popular vote by the populist right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), and was accepted Sunday by 58 per cent of voters in the Italian-speaking region, which borders Italy.
The text calls for changing the Ticino constitution to stipulate that when candidates for a job have the same professional qualifications, employers should priorities those living in the canton over those living abroad, in a bid to fight ‘wage dumping’ and unemployment.
Roberto Maroni, who heads Italy’s northern Lombardy region and who is a member of the Lega Nord regionalist party, spoke out on social media, saying he accepted the outcome of the Ticino popular vote, but vowed to begin Monday studying ‘adequate counter-measures’.
On Sunday evening, Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni stressed on Twitter that the referendum would have no immediate practical implications.
But he warned that ‘without freedom of movement of people, Swiss-EU relations will be at risk.’
In the run-up to the vote, SVP argued that the initiative aimed to find a solution for the Ticino labour market while waiting for measures at a federal level to kick in.
Of the 200,000 positions in Ticino, 63,000 are today held by cross-border workers, according to Swiss public broadcaster RTS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *