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tough commute Failure for Geneva initiative targeting cross-border workers

cars at border crossing

Waiting in line to enter Geneva at the Bardonnex border-crossing.

(Keystone)

A campaign in Geneva aiming to give priority to locals over cross-border workers has fallen short of collecting the signatures needed to bring the issue to vote.

Some 5,000 signatures were collected, 500 short of the target, announced the Geneva Citizens’ Movement (MCG) party on Monday.

The MCG’s campaign (“Cross-border workers: stop!”) wanted to force employers in the city to provide evidence that a local worker was unavailable for any vacant role before offering it to a commuter from France.

Geneva, which is on the border between Switzerland and France, sees some 100,000 cross-border workers, who hold special permits, entering each day.

Though vital for the local economy, these workers have increasingly come under attack from some local politicians to such an extent that the current atmosphere has been described as “toxic” for those commuting from France.

The MCG, which often campaigns on anti-immigration platforms, said recent local elections – in which it suffered heavy losses – were partly behind the failure to muster enough signatures for the initiative.

However, it plans to try again with a similar approach, said secretary-general François Baertschi.

The campaign was also supported by the local branch of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party.

SDA-ATS/dos

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