The Employers' Convention signs a new CLA

Raphaël Thiémard, Yves Defferrard, Vania Alleva, Philippe Bauer and Ludovic Voillat

On 3 May this year, representatives of the Unia union and the Employers' Convention of the Swiss Watch Industry (CP) signed their new Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) at the Hôtel DuPeyrou in Neuchâtel, where the first watchmaking CLA was signed 87 years ago. Philippe Bauer (CP president), Vania Alleva (Unia president), Ludovic Voillat (CP general secretary), Yves Defferrard (Unia industry sector manager) and Raphaël Thiémard (Unia watchmaking branch manager) all signed the 16th CLA in their joint history.

Negotiated between March 2023 and February 2024, the new CLA will come into force on 1 July 2024, covering almost 55,000 employees and more than 500 companies. Following a 2.5-year extension of the collective bargaining agreement in the midst of the pandemic, preparatory work resumed in autumn 2022 and negotiations began six months later. The negotiations involved 10 plenary sessions and lasted almost a year; 28 demands were discussed, 15 of which were accepted. The new text is valid for five and a half years, until 31 December 2029.

Employers and trade unions have drawn up a modern text based on a balanced compromise between social progress and maintaining firms’ competitiveness. A number of points led to changes in the text of the agreement, notably an addition to the crisis article. If an event such as the Covid pandemic were to occur again, three principles have been enshrined in the CLA in order to prepare for it, safeguard jobs as well as possible and not hinder a potential economic recovery as soon as it has begun.

On the staff side, maternity and paternity leave have been improved to enable a better work-life balance. An incentive has been reworded to encourage all companies to take steps to eliminate pay differentials between men and women. The employer's contribution towards salary costs will be increased from CHF 175 to CHF 195 per month at the beginning of 2025. Finally, among other new elements, minimum wages on 1 January 2024 have been increased by 1.6% in all regions.

May 16, 2024