NETHERLANDS - The Dutch government will proceed with its plans to raise the pension age to 67, after advisory body SER failed to produce a unified proposal on ways to avoid the increase.
Spokeswoman for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment Sabine Jimkes said since the SER failed to produce an alternative proposal, the Dutch government will continue with its original plan announced last April to raise the pension age to 67.
However, she said: "The question remains on how to implement this change. The government met today and started to discussed the issue. It said it would take into account the different opinions of all stakeholders and that it should take a decision on how to implement the changes within one month."
In spring this year, the Dutch government announced plans to increase the pension age from 65 to 67. It also granted half a year for the unions and the employers representatives to come up with alternative proposals.
The SER was appointed as the body presiding over negotiations with different organisations, including unions and employers, and tasked with reaching an agreement with those stakeholders by October 1.
A source close to the SER told Global Pensions: "The main problem was with the retirement age for occupational pensions. Employers did not agree there could be any flexibility and that employees could choose to retire at 65, despite the pension age being raised to 67.
"Unions, on the other hand agreed the retirement age could be raised to 67 but also wanted the flexibility for employees to choose whether to work until they were 67 or to retire at 65, under both the state and occupational pensions regime."
The source added the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO - NCW) did not participate at the last round of talks Wednesday late afternoon and said they "did not have any more faith in this negotiation".
National Federation of Christian Trade Unions (CNV) spokeswoman Laetitia Griffioen confirmed this. She said: "The independent members of the SER presented their final proposals on Wednesday afternoon and the final negotiation would have followed, but the employers representatives refused to show up."
However, the VNO - NCW said there was no invitation for a last round meeting.
Spokeswoman Angélique Heijl said: "There were a lot of talks in the media about us not participating to the last meeting, but there was not supposed to be a last meeting."
She added: "The proposals of the unions did not provide for the extra funding of €4bn (US$5.8bn) the government finances need to pay pensions due to the longevity issues. Therefore, for us, a proposal which did not provide for us was not negotiable."
GP understands the different parties will continue their discussion with the government on a one to one basis.
Griffioen said: "We will go on in our negotiations with government on a separate basis and keep on asking for flexibility for employees to retire at 65, while accepting the retirement age will be raised at 67."
The VNO - NCW said it will also maintain its original position with the government.
The SER declined to comment.
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