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Dutch military unions lodge appeal against abolishing final salary plan

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The trade unions for Dutch military staff are to lodge an appeal against a court ruling that Ministry of Defence (MoD) personnel can be switched from final to average salary pension arrangements as of this year.

In the case against the MoD, the unions have demanded that the employees keep accruing under a final salary plan because the two parties have yet to reach an agreement about the change.

In the opinion of the judge in earlier summary proceedings, the social partners, including the unions, agreed in 2017 that there would not be a final salary scheme in place for military staff in 2019.

According to Teun Huijg, the unions’ lawyer, the unions demanded that the MoD appoint a provider that can implement a final salary plan this year, if civil service scheme ABP was unable or unwilling to keep on providing such arrangements.

In the summary proceedings ABP had argued that its IT system – geared for average salary arrangements – could no longer cope with the final salary plan.

The pension fund’s lawyer said last month that the mounting problems were about to cause “a short circuit in ABP’s administration machine”.

In separate summary proceedings – brought by the unions against ABP – a judge at an Amsterdam court had ruled that ABP was able to implement a final salary plan, and that the pension fund was not allowed to imply that the pension plan for military personnel was not such a scheme.

Jos van Dijk, spokeswoman for ABP, said that the pension fund hadn’t decided yet whether it would lodge an appeal.

She acknowledged that ABP’s website stated that the final salary plan for military staff would apply until the end of 2018, but highlighted that this wasn’t relevant for the temporary plan it had put in place at the start of January 2019.

Meanwhile, the MoD’s website still stipulates that its pension arrangements amount to an average salary scheme.

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