Thomas Weber / Foto: Keystone
Thomas Weber / Foto: Keystone
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Local News Summary of August, 17th

  • Prosecution drops case against Thomas Weber
  • Train derailed at cargo yard in Basel

 

Prosecution drops case against Thomas Weber

The Department for Economy and Public Health in Baselland has welcomed a decision of the prosecution office to drop the case against government member Thomas Weber.

Two criminal complaints had been submitted to the prosecution office in Baselland in June about collective labour agreements and questioning their status as generally binding.

The case concerned the labour agreements on the trades of constructing, roofing, painting, and plastering, which had been declared as generally binding in 2010. The binding declarations relating to these trades ran out at the end of 2017, prompting the employers-and-employee organisations to re-establish them as soon as possible.

An anonymous criminal complaint was then submitted to the prosecution office on 20th June, followed by a comprehensive criminal complaint the following day by the Cantonal Office for Industry and Labour Baselland (KIGA). The allegations focussed on a number of crimes including fraud, embezzlement, and disloyal management concerning these binding declarations. As a consequence, the prosecution office of Baselland began an investigation and examined the alleged crimes and possible further offences.

Non-punishable offences

In the course of their criminal investigation, the prosecution office came to the conclusion that the generally binding declarations in question and their declaration as such were not punishable.

The Department for Economy and Public Health (VGD) welcomed the decision and said it «will support the necessary auditing process, including keeping to necessary quorums and maintaining the appropriate usage of funds, as much as possible, and will also resort to using external resources».

Agreements were generally binding

According to the federal law concerning the declaration of the generally binding nature of collective labour agreements (AVEG, SR 221.215.311), and the message by the federal government regarding the matter, any regulations declared as generally binding in a collective labour agreement remain in force even if the collective agreement they were based on is no longer in force. The spirit of the regulation allows it to be used for cases such as this one, in which generally binding declarations were kept in force despite the cancellation of the collective labour agreement they were based on.

Since there was a strong emphasis on legal certainty in this particular case, the regulations declared as generally binding were still active. Therefore, neither the collection of contributions by workers and employers, nor the compensation by the canton of Baselland to the central commission composed of equal numbers (ZPK) were unlawful, it was ruled.

Member of government Thomas Weber will not be prosecuted

Mr Weber had been accused in public of preferential treatment although the prosecution office concluded that there were no grounds for this allegation. In the context of the case there were speculations as to whether the delayed approval of the KIGA criminal complaint by Thomas Weber related to preferential treatment.

The prosecution office in Baselland concluded that no criminal complaint had been submitted, and that no probable cause could be detected indicating that Mr Weber had exercised preferential treatment. Since preferential treatment is a basic precondition to opening a prosecution case by law, the prosecution office dropped the case.

Train derailed at cargo yard in Basel

Six rail carriages filled with cement derailed at a cargo yard in Basel on Wednesday night, causing thousands of francs worth of damage.

The cargo train, which belongs to «Rheinland Cargo Schweiz», had been travelling from Germany and derailed at 2.15am when travelling at low speed. According to a SBB spokesperson, a derailed carriage also damaged another carriage owned by the SBB Cargo company. Nobody was injured and no passenger services were affected.

A length of rail of around 100 metres was damaged. The cost of the damage has been estimated at around 100,000 Swiss francs. The carriages were not carrying dangerous goods, the spokesperson said.

The recovery work will involve lifting the affected carriages back onto the track with the help of a crane. This will be carried out once the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board has finished its investigations. The rail company expects the recovery operation to last until the weekend.