Booking and travel industry pension fund in talks after court ruling

Hotel booking website Booking is in talks with the Dutch hotel industry pension fund after losing a Supreme Court case about pension liabilities, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Tuesday.

Booking, which is due to publish its 2021 earnings next week, has said that being required to participate in the Reiswerk fund will cost it at least €278m.

The talks, ordered by the court in last year’s ruling, are both ‘complicated’ and ‘constructive’, fund chairman Arnold Jager told the paper.

The dispute between the travel industry fund and Booking centres on whether or not the company is classified as an online travel agent. Booking currently operates its own fund for some 5,000 employers in the Netherlands.

Meal delivery service Deliveroo is currently in a similar situation. At the end of last year, it was ordered to participate in the transport sector fund and provide back payments totalling €600,000. The company is currently appealing.

Both Booking and Deliveroo claim their workforce is largely made up of IT staff, and so do not meet the travel industry or transport definitions.

If Booking and the pension fund do not reach agreement, the case will be referred back to a lower court for a final ruling, the FD said.

Last week it emerged that Booking is undergoing another reorganisation and will shed 2,700 jobs in its customer service departments by outsourcing the work. Its offices in Amsterdam and Manchester are not affected.

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