NETHERLANDS - Dutch ice-skaters are to get a new pension fund if talks with provider Aegon succeed, a union official says.

Dutch trade union FNV's subsidiary NL Sporter is in talks over the new fund as part of a new union set up for Dutch skate professionals, the union confirmed today.

"We have an appointment with AEGON in November to see what the possibilities are in terms of a collective pension scheme and insurances, but we are in a very early stage of this process," said Hetteke Frima of NL Sporter.

A majority of 26 of the Dutch professional skaters announced yesterday that they have combined in a new union that will be part of NL Sporter, the union for sporting professionals.

As part of the initiative, NL Sporter will not only look into options for a pension scheme, but also it will campaign for equal training facilities for professionals and it will supervise the distribution of commercial funding.

With this move the skater also hope to become part of the collective cooperation agreement which is signed every four years by Dutch skating organisation KNSB, commercial skating teams and insurance and pensions provider Aegon, the skaters' main sponsor.

Former professional rower Jochem Verbene, part of NL Sporter's governing board, said that training facilities, collective insurance and pensions are important issues for the professionals. Verbene will serve as the skaters' new spokesman.