Employers’ leader urges senators to back pension changes

Employers’ leader Bernard Wientjes on Sunday made a last ditch effort to persuade senators to pass controversial new pension legislation when it comes up for discussion in the upper house of parliament this week.

Wientjes told television current affairs show Buitenhof the entire package of measures agreed between unions, employers and ministers this spring would collapse if the pension changes are not pushed through.

‘Embrace these agreements. Do not make them part of a political game, especially not in the senate,’ Wientjes said.


The ruling coalition of VVD and PvdA needs the support of other parties to force through its pension changes in the upper house, but commentators say it is unlikely to win majority backing.

The government wants to reduce the amount workers can put into corporate pension schemes tax free from 2.25% of their gross salary to 1.85%. Pension funds, the Council of State advisory body and the financial service regulator AFM have all criticised the plan for being expensive and unrealistic.

The aim is to generate an extra €3bn in tax income for the treasury.


Ministers have already made it clear they will not make any concessions to the other parties to win their support for the changes.

D66 and the Christian Democrats have serious concerns about the proposals and voted against them in the lower house of parliament.

‘Without fundamental changes, things are looking bleak [for the cabinet],’ CDA senator Wopke Hoekstra is quoted as saying by Nos television.

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