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The Netherlands — Employers and unions cannot agree on increased state pension age

01 October 2009

Piet Hein Donner, Minister for Social Affairs and Employment has reacted with great disappointment to the breakdown of the state pension consultation on the Social and Economic Council (SER) even before today's deadline.

The Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) is an advisory and consultative body of employers' representatives, union representatives and independent experts, which aims to help create social consensus on national and international socio-economic issues.


The government had asked SER to come up with an alternative to Ministers' plans to increase the state pension age from 65 to 67 and save 4 billion Euro.

Employer organisations VNO-NCW and MKB Nederland had suggested to increase the pension age in one go from 65 to 67 in 15 years' time.

Employer representatives told press agency ANP, "everyone who is now over the age of 50 would retire at the age of 65 as normal. However, in the long term an increase in the pension age is unavoidable." Bernard Wientjes, Chairman of VNO-NCW told De Telegraaf newspaper, "soon there will be two people in work for every pensioner. At the moment there are four."

Unions are concerned about the effect of the increase on people who carry out heavy physical labour. The Socialist Party has so far collected over 100,000 signatures in a petition to keep the retirement age unchanged at 65. There is also a concern about the number of people taking early retirement. Only one in seven of the over 60's in The Netherlands is still in work.

After the collapse of the SER talks, Minister Donner made it clear that the government will now quickly present proposals on how it would raise the retirement age to 67 years.

 

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