Dutch union to fight retirement age plans

20th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Work stoppages and mass demonstrations are on the horizon, according to the largest Dutch trade union.

The Hague – Trade union FNV Bondgenoten promised stronger tactics in its campaign against the proposed increase in the official retirement age, reports news agency ANP.

The first substantial step in the campaign will be a work stoppage for a symbolic 65 minutes on 7 October this year.

The government recently considered raising the age that employees can receive their national pension from 65 to 67.

FNV Bondgenoten is the largest single trade union in the Netherlands. It boasts close to 470,000 members working in a wide range of industrial, commercial and service-focused companies and organisations.

Its hour-long work stoppage event is expected to be felt across a variety of economic sectors.

The trade union said that it may organise mass demonstrations, either in The Hague or Amsterdam, if the 65-minute ‘strike’ fails to have any effect.

Union leader Henk van der Kolk told the AD that the government has a “problem in terms of its reliability” because it continued to draw up plans for the proposed age increase despite an agreement to temporarily halt consideration of the measure.

The agreement, known as the Sociaal Akkoord (social agreement), was signed by the government, employers’ representatives and the two main trade union federations, including FNV bondgenoten, in 2009.

In that document the parties agreed to hold off on further discussions about the proposed change until the influential SER had issued recommendations.

SER is a group of employee, employer and specially-appointed representatives that advises the government on socio-economic issues. 

“The ink of the social agreement is not yet dry and already there’s a memorandum from [Social Affairs] Minister [Piet Hein] Donner detailing his plans for a longer working age,” Van der Kolk told the AD.

The ministry of social justice projected that the two-year increase will mean approximately EUR 4 billion per year less pension expenses.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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