The German ceramics industry has signed a collective bargaining agreement for the social partner model, whereas the glass industry is currently also in the process of drawing up a contract, while talks have been conducted on introducing such a model in the paper industry, Elvira Wittke, lawyer at the union IGBCE, said.

“We are in the process of expanding the social partner model to other industries. IGBCE industries including paper, glass and mining,” Wittke said at the Handelsblatt occupational pension conference last week.

Over 50 companies have already joined the social partner model in the chemical industry agreed by the German Federation of Chemical Employers’ Associations (BAVC) and the trade union IGBCE, according to Wittke.

The number of companies increases to 80 if counting also those that are in the process of joining the model, with 1,100 members, according to a presentation by Heiko G. Sturm, head of benefit consulting at R+V Versicherung, whose ChemiePensionsfonds offers defined contribution (DC) options to employees in the chemical industry.

“I am an optimist, I think we can reach the mark of 100 [companies] this year. We have a high demand [to join the model]”, Sturm added.

New employees in the industry can opt for DC plans under the social partner model on a voluntary basis, as a further option adding to existing occupational pension arrangements.

The company for radioactive waste disposal BGE is part of a collective agreement with IGBCE, and is on course to join the social partner model, said Gabriele Ries, head of human resources and general services at BGE.

BGE is now waiting for the supervisory board to give the green light to join the model after approval of the collective bargaining agreement by the responsible commission.

“We hope to receive [approval] by the end of the month,” Ries said.

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