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Campina faces fines over pension indexation

NETHERLANDS – Dairy products firm Campina faces fines of up five million euros over the rate it pays its pensioners, a court has ruled.

A judge of the Arnhem court has ruled that the company must conform to the 1.9% inflation rate rather than the intended 0.7% rate in its payments to 6,200 pensioners in 2004.

Failing to do so could lead to fines of 100,000 euros a day, up to a maximum five million euros, the judge also ruled.

Ruling that the company must pay pensions according to the estimated inflation rate, the judge said Campina, which has a pension fund worth around 800 million euros, had wrongly cut the price indexation to 0.7%.

The ruling ends, at least for 2004, a dispute which started last year as the firm cut costs, including pensions.

According to the Dutch press, the Campina pensioners’ association, or VGP, opposed the measures because the retired workers affected by the decision had no say in the matter.

Piet van den Heuvel, secretary of the pensioners’ association was quoted as saying: “We are over the moon.”

The company said the ruling applied only to 2004, adding that the fund was studying the ruling. A Campina official decline to elaborate.

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