NETHERLANDS - Dutch harbour workers are unlikely to accept the recent offer of €350m towards their pensions from insurer Optas Foundation, according to workers' representatives.

It's the latest development in an ongoing dispute over the proceeds of Optas' sale to Aegon.

Ton Jansen, the chairman of the representative body of the Dutch harbour workers (SBPVH), told IPE: "Optas has offered to pay €350m of the €1.3bn proceeds to improve the pensions of port workers.

"Although our board is still considering the Optas offer, it isn't likely that we will accept it, because we don't want to forgo on the remaining €1bn.

"The offer stands until the end of the year, but we will take a decision very soon."

Ton Planken, spokesman for the foundation, confirmed that Optas ‘has made an offer', but declined to provide further details.

The Optas Foundation - life insurer and pensions provider for the port workers' pension fund PVH - was taken over by Aegon last year in a €1.3bn transaction.

The foundation, which intends to use the proceeds for social and cultural purposes such as subsidising art, disputes the claim of both employers and employees that the assets should be used to benefit the pension fund's participants.

Recently, a mediation effort - at the request of Social Affairs' minister Piet Hein Donner - Elco Brinkman, the departing chairman of civil service scheme ABP, failed. Subsequently, the harbour workers and their employers announced they would go to court to solve the row.

Brinkman declined to comment on the new developments, according to a Social Affairs' spokesman, who was referring to ‘the confidentiality agreed by the players involved'.