BELGIUM - Belgium's traditional class distinction between blue and white collar workers could spell problems for occupational pensions, according to the president of the Belgian Pension Commission.
The commission has just returned its report on the relationship between existing anti-discrimination legislation and pensions to the government, having studied the issue for more than two years.
Yves Stevens, president of the commission, told Global Pensions that the distinction between blue and white collar workers could be a potentially difficult issue to settle should the law come to be revised, not least because of its connection to “the entire social atmosphere” of Belgium.
“As long as that remains unsolved, there will not be a solution in occupational pensions either,” he said. “And some people say it doesn’t need a solution.”
Stevens added that it was now up to the government to decide what to do next.
Anecdotal evidence does suggest the government may be prepared to take the commission’s report on board. In January, the Belgian minister for pensions, Bruno Tobback, told Global Pensions that the conclusions reached would determine whether any changes in law would be necessary.
The existing law has been roundly criticised as ill-suited to pension funds. Hugo Clemeur, secretary general of the Belgian Association of Pension Funds (BPFA), recently described issues of ethnic discrimination such as religion or skin colour as irrelevant to pensions.
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