NETHERLANDS - ING Group has proposed raising its own staff’s pension age to 65 from 62 - which the unions say they won’t accept.

ING spokeswoman Debbie Brand told IPE that the change is a logical result of the autumn agreements between the Dutch social partners and the government last year.

These saw the pension age changed to 65 and the pre-pension possibilities ended. However, she indicated that the result is still unclear, as precise issues will still have to be discussed with the trade unions.

The next round of talks will be in the next few weeks, where the financial implications will also have to be discussed. ING wants the current pre-pension payments to be put into the so-called ‘levensloop’, lifestyle pension.

All employees that were working for ING before 2002 will have the possibility of putting 90% of the saved pre-pension payments into an early retirement system. For employees of 55 years and older, the old system will still be effective.

Brand also said that ING will be paying a part of the ‘levensloop’ payments, but employees will have to part a part too. As has been the case with most other financial institutions, ING has also proposed that employees will be paying a part of the new premiums. Until now, all pension contributions were paid by ING itself.

As one of the only parties in the Netherlands the bank-insurer will also keep the end salary pension arrangements. No move to an average-salary arrangement is anticipated.
The first reaction of the trade unions is negative.

The FNV union said it would not agree to the proposals as they stand at this moment. The FNV will try to keep the current arrangements in place.

In the coming weeks, the union will assess the situation and come back with their own demands in the next round of talks.