SWITZERLAND - The Swiss federation of trade unions, the largest employee federation in the country, has called for the first pillar pension to be worth CHF3,000 (€1,933) per person (Corrects figure).

In a statement, the USS federation, comprising 15 trade unions with a total of 380,000 members, argued that the sum - or CHF4,500 per couple - would be the minimum first pillar threshold and "would be far from excessive to live in dignity today".

The suggestion has been put together by professor Pierre Gilliand of the University of Lausanne. Gilliand is member of a group of experts set up by the union to analyse the Swiss three-pillar system ands and find ways to tackle old-age poverty.

USS said the minimum threshold to access the second pillar, known as BVG, is about CHF19,000. This, it says, excludes low-earners - and women in particular - who are catering for higher earners.

The BVG is meant to provide the bulk of old age retirement for Swiss workers.

“Absolute material equality is a chimera. However our study group envisages a reduction in the inequalities as an imperative duty of solidarity,” USS said.

The management of the second pillar is “far more onerous” than the first pillar, knows as AHV, the union body stated. It argued that the second pillar is also subject to inflation and market risks, and that it’s dependent on economic growth.

“The second pillar, even a bit curtailed, is solid and appropriate to maintain previous lifestyle. The Swiss social and economic dynamism is adequate for these objectives.”