Switzerland’s “Black Swan” scuppers Portuguese teachers and public officials

As European currencies are still reeling from the sudden increase in the value of the Swiss Franc against the Euro, the effects the “Black Swan” event has had on Portuguese teachers and public officials working in Switzerland have been described as “devastating”.

“Lives already difficult have now become impossible”, Teresa Duarte Soares, secretary-general of the Lusíadas Communities’ Teachers Syndicate (SCPL) told Diário de Notícias.

Elsewhere, ionline claims public officials are in panic, as salaries have effectively been lopped over 20%.

Troubles began on Thursday (January 15) when the Swiss National Bank announced it would remove the cap it had placed to prevent the Swiss Franc from rising too high against the Euro.

As FP (foreign policy) website proclaimed, “all hell broke loose. At one point, the Swiss Franc climbed by almost 40% against the Euro”.

It ended the day at 20% above the euro, but even this spells heartbreak for hundreds of Portuguese resident in Switzerland on euro-based salaries.

As the real implications – not least for the European Central Bank – are expected to send shockwaves reverberating for weeks, workers have called an emergency meeting with the Portuguese embassy in Switzerland.

Teresa Duarte Santos’ says the SCPL has also appealed to José Cesário, Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities Abroad, for an emergency fund to help nationals cope with the sudden impossible increase in the cost of living.

NB: A Black Swan event is the term given to a surprise that usually has a nasty sting in its tail.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]