The fact that Switzerland’s citizens have voted in a referendum to impose some of the world’s strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation (your report, 4 March), is a clear example of people power at its best.
Around 70 per cent of voters have backed proposals allowing shareholders to veto executive pay proposals as well as banning big rewards for new and departing managers. It was one of the highest approval rates ever in a Swiss referendum.
While anger at generous payouts for executives has spread around the globe since the financial crisis, Swiss direct democracy – including four national referendums a year -– means public outrage can be translated into strong action, tackling the misconduct of some bankers and looking to end a culture of short-termism and rewards for managers of badly run companies.
The Swiss system of direct democracy is to be welcomed and the sooner we introduce this within the UK and take such decisions out of the hands of the political and banking establishment and return it to the people the better. Let’s face it, the Swiss haven’t done too badly out of it.
SWITZERLAND has it all – snow-clad peaks, sunlit meadows, chocolate, cowbells, no austerity and now a referendum capping chief executives’ salaries, bonuses and handshakes, likely to be a lot more effective than suggestions from Brussels or our coalition.
Anyone joining me in organising our own poll and waving goodbye to those who would prefer to work in the Caymans?