NETHERLANDS - The National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands (CNV) continues to oppose the government's proposed pension age increase, refuting local media claims that it has stopped negotiations.
CNV spokesman Martin van Oosten said that the CNV is still in discussion with other unions about finding alternative solutions to the government increasing the pension age.
The government wants to raise the state pension age from 65 to 67 in order to bolster its finances, but is allowing unions to find an alternative solution before October 1. (Global Pensions; March 26, 2009)
Oosten said that the CNV is currently negotiating with the SER, the Dutch government's main advisory body for national social and economic policy, and the VNO-NCW, the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers.
The CNV has proposed alternatives, such as imposing a tax increase on higher incomes, which exceed the level of the prime minister's income of €150,000 a year. All incomes above this threshold would have a tax of 60%.
He added: "The last resort is to increase the pension age in stages, but other unions don't agree with this - this is a lesser alternative." One proposition is to increase the pension age in increments from 2016, so that every year a month is added until the age of 67 is reached.
However, Oosten said that it would be a disaster if the pension age is raised, leaving older people who are unemployed in another two years of unemployment.
As a result, the union is also campaigning for the participation of older employees in the workplace, and to help older employees stay in work. He said: "We want employers to not discriminate against older employees, so we are talking with employers on how to create jobs for older people."
For example, employees who reach a certain age could be switched from more arduous physical labour into more of an office-based role.
Keeping older employees working will also help stave off the shortage of employees expected in about 30 years, he said.
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