Minister blamed for pension losses

Hundreds of thousands of employees and pensioners in the metal sector will lose 10% of their pension rights in 2011 and those who thought they would be able to retire at 62 will have to keep on working, reports Tuesday’s Telegraaf.

The sombre forecast comes from Jos Brocken and Jan Berghuis, who are the FNV union representatives for the metal sector’s pension funds PME and PMT.
The pension cuts are inevitable now that share prices have continued to fall this year, they tell the paper. Pension funds’ investments in shares have led to a serious fall in their reserves.
But the real blame lies with social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner who wants to give pension funds five years to get their book-keeping in order rather than three years, say Brocken and Berghuis.
Under Donner’s proposal pension funds will have to assess the situation regularly during the five year period – and take hard measures if recovery is not on target.
This means tough action will be needed by mid 2010, the pension officials tell the paper. ‘In effect, Donner has not given us five years, but one year,’ Brocken is quoted as saying.
The average worker in the metal industry will be €40 a month worse off in 2011, Berghuis says in the Telegraaf.
See too: Engineering pension fund raises premiums

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