AS thousands of people protest across Europe in opposition to austerity measures and cuts to public sector pay, one country is bucking the trend by turning down an extra two weeks of holiday a year.
In a remarkable demonstration of the country's famed work ethic, Swiss citizens appear to have voted against raising the minimum holiday from four weeks to six.
Polls closed yesterday on a series of national referendums, one of which was pushed for by unions to raise the amount of paid holiday people get each year. An exit poll by Swiss public broadcaster SSR projected that when votes were counted, two-thirds would reject the proposal.
The plans had been criticised by most political parties and businesses, who warned that it would make labour costs too high and harm the economy.
But Union Travail Suisse, which spearheaded the campaign, said the extra two weeks of holiday could help alleviate what it said was high levels of stress among its employees.
Under Swiss law, employees get a minimum of four weeks per year, but some industrial sectors are granting more generous entitlements.
Other votes taking place yesterday included one specifically for citizens of Zurich to decide whether to build dedicated garages where prostitutes can ply their trade, in a proposal aimed at moving streetwalkers away from residential zones.