The key element of the social partnership in the Swiss MEM industries is the collective employment agreement (CEA). This guarantees the employees of the participating companies progressive working conditions which go well beyond the statutory minimum. In return, the employees agree to refrain from industrial action of any kind.
Any conflicts are resolved within the partnership; that is, not through civil courts. The CEA provides clearly defined conflict resolution processes.
The current CEA for the MEM industries came into effect on 1 July 2018 and is valid until 30 June 2023. Detailed information on the social partnership system and the CEA can be found on www.sozialpartner.ch.
Swissmem member companies are absolutely free to choose whether or not to apply the CEA. Currently, around half of the member companies are subject to the agreement.
Co-determination through employee representative bodies
To make the social partnership work at company level, the employee representative bodies need to receive adequate training. This task is performed by the AAA (Working Group for Training Employee Representatives in the MEM Industries). Training is provided by both sides equally, i.e. by both employer representatives and representatives from the unions and employees’ associations.
See www.aaa.swissmem.ch for more information.