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Dutch pre-pension system sparks row

The ending of the Netherlands’ pre-pension system will foster actuarial fairness, the International Monetary Fund says, while Dutch unions are up in arms about the moves.
“The low labour force participation of older workers is another area where progress could be made,” the IMF said in a recent report on the Netherlands. “In this regard, the envisaged removal of fiscal incentives for early retirement is a positive step.
“Ending the mandatory nature of collective pre-pension sch-emes will foster intergenerational and actuarial fairness.”
It says the decision “should provide further impetus to scaling back early retirement”. In addition, “changes in life expectancy should be taken into account in determining the retirement age”.
The unions are predicting a “very hot summer” as FNV chairman Lodewijk de Waal commented on the failure of the so-called Spring Meeting between the social partners and the government which focused on the pre-pension issue.
According to the trade union chairman, the lack of will shown by the government, Minister of Social Affairs Aart-Jan de Geus, will result in the total breakdown of the Autumn Agreement, in which all parties involved signed an agreement not to raise earnings for the coming years.
After tough negotiations some weeks ago, the trade unions left the meeting stating they could not agree to the new proposals of the government.
Ministry officials indicated to IPE that the only way the minister will be persuaded is the introduction of a new pre-pension system, which will make it increasingly financially unattractive to stop working before the age of 65.
The real stumbling block has been the proposal by the government to give employees the opportunity to opt out of the collective pre-pension agreements.
If this is implemented, this will mean the end to early retirement for most people involved.

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