Swiss voters equally divided over vote to cap executive pay

Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:32pm EDT

* Vote on Nov. 24

* Poll shows population equally divided

* Swiss angry over executive pay excesses

ZURICH, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Swiss voters are equally divided over a proposal to limit monthly executive pay to the equivalent of the annual earnings of a company's lowest paid member of staff, a poll showed on Friday.

The survey, based on polling between Oct. 7 and 12 by market research institute gfs.bern showed 44 percent of voters intended to back the so-called 1:12 initiative in a popular vote to be held on Nov. 24, while the same number were against.

Critics of the proposal, including the Swiss government, fear it hurt the attractiveness of Switzerland as a business destination.

Switzerland's SP socialist party, which supports the initiative brought by its youth organisation JUSO, said the poll showed the population was no longer ready to accept excessive managerial salaries.

But SGV, an umbrella organisation of Swiss small and medium-sized firms, argued the opposite, saying the poll showed a majority of voters were not convinced by the proposal.

Joining global anger at multi-million dollar payouts for executives, Swiss voters in March backed some of the world's strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding say over compensation.

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