Belgium’s first industry-wide pension fund for blue collar workers will get the green light this summer, covering up to 150,000 employees in the country’s metalwork industry (FabrieMetal).
The scheme, involving around 3,000 Belgian companies, joined under a collective labour agreement, is in discussion phase between unions and employers with a final blueprint expected by September.
Paul Soete, chief negotiator between the unions and employers, explains: “Any agreement will apply to all companies in the metal industry sector, with the exception of those in the non-ferrous metal branch, which has its own representation.”
The FabrieMetal plan will cover the raw metal, mechanical, transport and electronics sectors of the industry.
“Companies can retain or implement their own pension schemes as long as they have the same financial input as the industry scheme,” Soete says.
“It is the first blue collar scheme of its kind in Belgium - although the blue collar workers of the construction industry have a system of benefit funds in the event of redundancy and retirement. “Our system, however, will completely separate the pensions financial affairs from the individual companies.”
Soete says employers will pay 1% of employee salaries into the fund, although the issue is still under discussion.
No discussions have yet taken place on how the money will be invested.