Switzerland Unions

Switzerland Unions and Military



Despite the establishment of local trade unions in the 1840s, the first national professional association in 1858 (Swiss Typographers Association) and the first umbrella organization (Swiss Federation of Trade Unions, SGB) in 1880, the Swiss trade unions only gained greater importance at the beginning of the 20th century. While the failure of the first “Swiss Workers’ Union” (1873–80), due to its heterogeneous membership structure, paved the way for the formation of the politically and denominationally neutral SGB, its growing affinity for the SPS favored the emergence of competing unions.

Thus in 1907 the Christian Social Trade Union Federation (renamed in 1921 Christian National Trade Union Federation, CNG), 1907/1920 the Swiss Association of Protestant Workers and Salaried Employees (SVEA; since 1988 member of the CNG), 1918 the Association of Swiss Employees’ Associations (VSA), 1919 the National Association of Free Swiss Worker (LVFSA); As early as 1903, associations in the public service sector had created the Federal Association of Personnel of Public Administrations and Enterprises (FV) as a coordinating body. Visit themakeupexplorer for Trade Unions in Europe.

Despite a process of concentration and centralization that began in the founding phase, the Swiss trade union movement remained politically and denominationally fragmented; It is also characterized by a great variety of organizations: industrial, professional, cadre, workers, salaried employees, civil servants’ unions, non-denominational, non-partisan and directional associations. Almost 80% of the union members are, however, organized in two umbrella organizations: in the SGB with (2017) 353 200 and in Travail Suisse (created in 2002 through the merger of CNG and VSA) with 146 600 members. The early (1911) recognition of the normative function of the collective labor agreement (GAV) had a stabilizing effect on the fragmented and pluralistic trade union movement. H. of the collective agreement. Added to this is the institutionalized regulation of conflicts and differences of interest (independent arbitration, absolute peace obligation) introduced in the metal industry (after 1945 also in other sectors) with the “peace agreement” of 1937. With the amendment to the constitution of 1947 (»economic article«), umbrella organizations gained institutionalized participation in the legislative process (representation in expert commissions, participation in consultation procedures, right to be heard in the case of implementing regulations for laws).


Against the background of the changing security situation, a far-reaching structural reform of the Swiss armed forces and a fundamental modernization of the main weapon systems were initiated at the end of the 1980s. The legal basis of the “Army 95” project is the new military law that came into force on 1.1.1996. According to this, Switzerland continues to maintain a pure militia army with general conscription from the age of 20 to 42, for officers up to the age of 52. The target strength in the event of war is 140,000 men 48 hours after mobilization, the effective number (2019) is 140,300 soldiers. In times of peace there are only 3,300 long-term servants on duty: members of the instruction corps (who are responsible for training), the fortress guard corps (responsible for the maintenance of the combat facilities) and the surveillance squadron (especially pilots). For the total of 24,000 newly drafted conscripts annually, the 15-week recruiting school is usually followed by ten 19-day repetition courses that take place every two years, in exceptional cases annual repetition courses of 12 days. The NCO school lasts six weeks. In total, the maximum total length of service is 330 days.

The army, in which the three previous army classes, Auszug, Landwehr and Landsturm, have been abolished, is divided into three field army and one mountain army corps with 320,000 soldiers in the event of mobilization. Each field army corps has two infantry field divisions, a territorial division, a tank brigade and support troops, the mountain army corps has three mountain divisions, a territorial division, three fortress brigades, two territorial brigades and support troops. Two independent tank brigades and other special troops (artillery, pioneers) are directly subordinate to the Army Command. The anti-aircraft and anti-aircraft troops (“Flugwaffe”), part of the army and, in the event of mobilization, about 30,000 men, comprise an air force brigade with the flying units, an airfield brigade (in which the entire ground organization of the air force is summarized), a command brigade and an anti-aircraft brigade. The air force includes the army’s only standing unit, the “surveillance squadron,” whose main mission is to permanently ensure neutrality in the airspace.

The Army also includes the Women in the Army (FDA abbreviation), in which (2019) around 1,300 women volunteer unarmed.

In 1996 Switzerland signed NATO’s “Partnership for Peace”. Nevertheless, it has so far only been involved in humanitarian operations, peacekeeping measures and cross-border disaster relief.


Switzerland is administratively divided into 26 cantons. The lowest administrative units are the 2 202 (2020) political municipalities.

Administrative division in Switzerland

Switzerland: Administrative division (2017)
Canton 1) Area (in km 2) Population(in 1,000) Residents(per km 2) Capital or main town
Zurich 1 729 1,503.9 870 Zurich
Bern 5,959 1,030.8 174 Bern
Lucerne 1,493 406.4 272 Lucerne
Uri 1 076 36.3 34 Altdorf
Schwyz 908 157.3 173 Schwyz
Obwalden 491 37.6 77 Sarnen
Nidwalden 276 43.0 156 Stans
Glarus 685 40.3 59 Glarus
train 239 125.4 525 train
Freiburg (Friborg) 1 671 314.9 188 Freiburg (Friborg)
Solothurn 791 271.3 343 Solothurn
Basel city 37 193.8 5 239 Basel
Basel-Country 518 287.0 544 Liestal
Schaffhausen 298 81.3 273 Schaffhausen
Appenzell Ausserrhoden 243 55.2 227 Herisau
Appenzell Innerrhoden 173 16.1 93 Appenzell
St. Gallen 2 026 504.6 249 St. Gallen
Grisons 7 105 197.9 28 Chur
Aargau 1 404 670.8 478 Aarau
Thurgau 991 273.8 276 Frauenfeld
Ticino (Ticino) 2,812 353.7 126 Bellinzona
Vaud (Vaud) 3 212 793.0 247 Lausanne
Wallis (Valais) 5 224 341.4 65 Manners (sion)
Neuchâtel (Neuchâtel) 803 177.9 222 Neuchâtel (Neuchâtel)
Geneva (Genève) 282 495.1 1 756 Geneva (Genève)
law 839 73.3 88 Delémont
1) Official order.


The largest part of the private law (civil and commercial law), which is essentially regulated by the federal government, can be found in the Swiss Civil Code (ZGB); In a fifth part, but with a separate item count, it contains the Code of Obligations (OR), adapted to the ZGB in 1911 and 1936 and has since been changed in various parts (employment contract, rent, installment purchase, stock corporation). Important ancillary laws deal with international private law, unfair competition and the preservation of rural property. Several subsidiary enactments under private law have undergone extensive revisions, such as the Cartel Act (2003), the Copyright Act (1993) and the Trademark Protection Act (1993). Criminal law has been uniformly regulated in the Swiss Criminal Code since 1942 (among other things supplemented in 1995 by anti-racism articles). The cantons only have certain criminal law powers. The death penalty has been abolished in civil criminal law since 1942 and in military criminal law since 1992.

The implementation of private and criminal law is usually a matter for the cantons. The Federal Supreme Court in Lausanne consists of two public law and two civil law departments as well as one criminal law department. Two social law departments are based in Lucerne. The Federal Administrative Court (based in St. Gallen) was established on January 1, 2007 to relieve the Federal Supreme Court. The Federal Criminal Court, established in Bellinzona on April 1, 2004, judges first instance criminal cases that are subject to federal jurisdiction.

Switzerland Unions