ZURICH: Swiss trade union and business groups pressed the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to weaken the franc further to support struggling exporters, the head of Swiss industry lobby group Swissmem said on Sunday.
Representatives from Swiss trade union Unia and Swissmem held a meeting at the Swiss National Bank last week.
In an interview with newspaper Sonntagsblick Swissmem President Hans Hess praised the SNB's decision to cap the runaway franc at 1.20 to the euro, but said more needed to be done to protect jobs and margins.
"Firstly we thanked the SNB that they set a lower limit of 1.20 francs to the euro," Hess told the paper.
"We also said that this exchange rate was not enough for the export industry. Our members will have to resort to relatively harsh measures to cut costs in 2012. We'd be happy if the SNB succeeded in weakening the franc further."
Hess said an ideal exchange rate would be at around 1.35 francs to the euro. No demand, however, was made for the SNB to move the cap higher, he said.
"The SNB should weaken the franc. It's up to them how they want to do it."
Hess said some 10,000 jobs in the Swiss metals, electronics and machinery industry were under threat, but dismissed concerns the Alpine country could undergo de-industrialisation.
"There is no de-industrialisation in Switzerland if the euro exchange rate of 1.20 can be maintained," he said.
Copyright Reuters, 2010