Swissmem is the leading association for both SMEs and major corporations in the Swiss technology industry. We are proud to provide our member companies in all language regions with professional advice, offer them extensive networks and support them in digitalization while also, at a political level, advocating good framework conditions and an innovative centre of industry in Switzerland. The focus is on access to global export markets, the effective promotion of innovation, and a liberal labour market. We aim to train dedicated professionals at all levels for the industry, and we invest heavily in future-oriented training for young people and advanced training. In doing so we contribute to an innovative, internationally competitive industrial centre, as well as stability and prosperity in Switzerland.
Stefan Brupbacher studied law at the University of Zurich, where he also completed a doctorate. In addition, he holds an Executive Master’s degree in international and European business law from the University of St. Gallen and a Master's degree in international relations, specializing in international business, from John Hopkins University (SAIS) in Bologna and Washington DC.
From mid-2014 he was General Secretary of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER). Prior to this, Mr Brupbacher was General Secretary of the FDP Switzerland party from 2008. He also gained extensive professional experience in his previous positions, including heading up the secretariat of the Economic Affairs and Taxation Committees of the National Council and Council of States (EATC) and as deputy head of International Labour Affairs at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Dr Stefan Brupbacher took over as Director of Swissmem at the beginning of January 2019. Since November 2020 he has been Vice-Chairman of Orgalim, the umbrella organization Europe’s technology industries.
The history of Swissmem began in 1883 with the founding of the Swiss Association of Machinery Manufacturers (VSM). In 1905 another organization arose from within the VSM, the Association of Swiss Engineering Employers (ASM). Both associations have been operating under the Swissmem brand since 1999.
“To safeguard and promote the general interests of the Swiss engineering industry”. This was the stated objective when the Swiss Association of Machinery Manufacturers (VSM) was founded in 1883. It remains relevant to this day.
The beginning of the 20th century was a time of rising social tensions in Switzerland. Consequently, the engineering industry employers established the Association of Swiss Engineering Employers (ASM) from the ranks of the VSM in 1905. The ASM’s purpose was to safeguard its members’ interests in the area of social policy.
As a consequence of the Great Depression, in the 1930s the Swiss Federal Council became keen to act as an arbitrator in collective, nationwide wage disputes. The ASM and trade unions were opposed to this state interventionism. They sought a solution which would enable them to meet calls for social peace while maintaining autonomy in collective pay bargaining. This gave rise to the “Agreement in the Engineering Industry” (VMI). This brought a mechanism for settling differences of opinion between the social partners and therefore industrial peace. After that, the VMI – or collective employment agreement (CEA) in the MEM industries – was renewed time and again, and its content expanded.
Since the beginning of July 1999, the ASM/VSM associations have been amalgamated under one management, while nonetheless maintaining their legal independence. They have been operating under the Swissmem brand since 1 October 1999. In September 2006, the ASM and VSM members voted in favour of continuing integration. From 1 January 2007, the VSM changed its name to Swissmem and took over the activities previously undertaken by the ASM. However, the ASM remains in place as the body responsible for the CEA of the MEM industries.