NETHERLANDS - Dutch mineworkers are preparing legal action against pensions provider AZL in a dispute over payouts.

They claim AZL's has declined to pay out extra money for the miners' pension funds AMF and BFM following its takeover by ING.

The miners claim that their pension contributions were used to build up AZL's capital, from which the company has subsequently profited.

Since financial services giant ING agreed in January to pay €65m to buy AZL, the group, representing 40.000 mineworkers, wants a part of this amount as compensation.

AZL said in a statement that the miners are not entitled to any extra payoff, arguing that their claim is based on a misunderstanding.

It said: "The only bond that has ever existed, is that of a client and its service provider."

Former miner Wiel Niks, spokesman for the action group, told IPE today that his organisation "is walking the moral path first," by attempting to gather 20.000 signatures to support the miners in their cause.

"But we are already looking into what legal steps we can take, and so far it seems that we will have a pretty good chance to get something out of legal action against AZL," added Niks.

AZL wasn't available for further comment by press time.