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Swedish blue-collar workers want white-collar pensions

SWEDEN - With the new collective DC scheme for Swedish white-collar workers set to come into effect in January, blue-collar workers are looking to get back to the negotiating table to get the same deal.

In the late 1990s blue-collar workers had signed a deal with the employers that saw a shift to a DC scheme with 3.5% employer contribution. Under the new ITP plan for white-collar workers signed earlier this year employers contribute 4.5% and there is a special DC premium for incomes over SEK300,000 (€33,000) which are not covered under the state pension.

"The ITP plan had been negotiated since 1994. The blue-collar workers waited for it to be signed but then decided to sign a deal of their own in the meantime. Now they want the same thing the white-collar workers have," market specialist Mikael Nyman explained to IPE.

The talks are currently put on hold as employers want the unions to calculate the costs for raising the contributions. Negotiations are made even more difficult by the fact that they are held together with talks on wages.

Proposed cuts have already led to various demonstrations by workers and the issue is seen as the first major test for the Swedish government under Frederik Reinfeldt who took over as prime minister from Göran Persson after the elections in October.

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