NETHERLANDS - A Dutch court in Heerlen has today ruled even though the €220bn ABP pension fund practices age discrimination, it has the right to do so, says Dutch union AVV.

The Dutch Alternative Labour Union (AVV) took ABP to court in September 2006 over age discrimination in the pre-pension for government employees.

Together with a group of 10 civil servants and secondary and higher education teachers, AVV accused ABP of putting the costs of the recently modified system unilaterally with people under the age of 57. (See earlier story ‘ABP taken to court over age discrimination')

The organisation's head Martin Pikaart said in a written statement this morning: "The judge has recognised that age discrimination is taking place, but thinks it is allowed to come to an agreement which only benefits those above 57."

According to the group, ABP illegally discriminated against workers through their ages, as people under the age of 57 have to carry the burden of pre-pensioners above 56. The younger employees therefore have to work longer, they argue.

Pikaart added: "The fact that the costs of the VUT [early retirement] transition agreement are for 95% born by those who are under 58 did not play a role for the court. Nor did it matter that AVV proposed alternatives."

A spokesman for ABP told IPE: "We are glad about this judgment, particularly as we think that it confirms the strength of a collective system on the basis of solidarity."

He added the judge strongly considered the solidarity of the entire system ABP operates with in his decision.

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