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From plane to train?

25.11.2020 – Marc Lettau

SBB and Swiss are assessing whether airline pilots could help relieve the current shortage of train drivers in Switzerland.

From plane to train

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) needs train drivers. The airline Swiss hasn’t enough work for its pilots in the current climate and is ready to let staff go. SBB and Swiss are now evaluating whether airline pilots could also be employed as train drivers. Both professional associations (pilots and train drivers) are strongly in favour of the idea.

Sanctions against Belarus

Switzerland has voiced its criticism of the repressive measures taken against the people in Belarus since President Alexander Lukashenko’s dubious election victory. Switzerland has also increased the pressure on the Belarus government by approving sanctions, mainly in the form of financial and travel restrictions for former and current office holders. A number of Swiss companies operate in Belarus, such as train manufacturer Stadler Rail.

Changes at SRF

Swiss Radio and Television (SRF) is under pressure to cut costs. It also wants to appeal more to the younger demographic. Hence the idea to shed jobs and increase the broadcaster’s online presence. At the same time, a number of long-standing radio and television programmes are to be axed. The modernisation drive initiated by SRF boss Nathalie Wappler is proving controversial. By stepping up its online presence, the taxpayer-funded SRF wants to compete with private broadcasters. Politicians across the spectrum have reacted with dismay.

Slight increase in pensions

Given that wages and prices are rising, pensioners are to receive a modest pension increase from 2021. The minimum pension will rise by 10 Swiss francs to 1,195 francs per month, the maximum pension by 20 francs to 2,390 francs per month. Supplementary benefits will also go up. The Federal Council approved these measures in October. The total annual cost of this increase is 441 million francs.

Bombs under a farming village

Thousands of tonnes of munitions lie in an underground depot buried under rocks beneath the mountain village of Mitholz (canton of Berne). The army now want to clear the ageing ordnance, because they believe it poses a serious danger to the people living there. However, the complicated nature of the operation will turn Mitholz into a ghost town for an entire generation. A ten-year evacuation will be necessary. swissinfo has further information (in English):

What young people are worried about

Young people in Switzerland worry most about whether they will have enough money to lead a comfortable life when they retire. This is according to the latest “Youth Barometer” – a survey regularly conducted by Credit Suisse among 16- to 25-year-olds in a handful of countries. In none of the other countries did retirement provision make the top ten list of concerns. The coronavirus pandemic and its repercussions landed in second place on the barometer.