Alternative pension talks collapse

Employers organisations pulled out of last ditch efforts to come up with an alternative to the government’s planned increase in the pension age early on Wednesday evening, saying there was no point in continuing.

Unions and employers had been attempting to come up with alternative ways of raising €4bn for the treasury to an across-the-board rise in the pension age from 65 to 67. Their deadline was October 1.
Union leaders, who had just arrived in the Hague for the meeting, reacted furiously. ‘This is unbelievable,’ Agnes Jongerius, chairwoman of the FNV trade union federation told the Volkskrant. ‘It is a slap in our face,’ said Bert van Boggelen, head of the CNV federation. And Richard Steenborg, of the white collar MHP union said he felt as if he had been put out with the rubbish.
Gradual increase
Unions, employers and lay members of the government’s SER advisory committee had been trying to come up with an alternative plan since the spring because they all opposed the government’s plan to gradually increase the state pension age by one month a year.
However, in recent weeks, their talks had focused on different ways of raising the pension age, rather than taking different measures altogether.
The unions want people to have the choice when they want to retire on reaching the age of 65. Employers wanted a one-off increase to 67 in 2025.
The collapse of the talks means the way is now clear for the government to start implementing its plan. Social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner is to bring in draft legislation soon, the Volkskrant says.

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