Unia, the Swiss union representing employees in the private sector, has criticised ASIP, the pension funds association, for publicly supporting the reform of the second pillar pension system passed by parliament last year, which will be put ot a vote via a referendum later this year.

In an open letter to ASIP, Unia claimed it is an understatement to say that employee representatives in pension funds’ governing bodies were “surprised” to find ASIP among the backers of the second pillar reform, side by side with political parties and employers’ associations, with a view to a referendum in the autumn.

Commenting on the positive returns achieved by pension schemes last year, published by the occupational pensions regulator OAK BV last week, the Swiss Employers’ Association – Schweizerische Arbeitgeberverband – said the reform of the second pillar pension system is necessary to stop the redistribution mechanism between generations by lowering the conversion rate for pension payouts, supporting part-time workers joining pension schemes at the same time.

ASIP’s members have decided to support the parliament’s proposal to reform the second pillar system even if individual parts of the proposal “are not completely technically convincing”, director Lukas Müller-Brunner said.

ASIP ’s main goal was to push for a decentralised mechanism within the second pillar to fund compensations for members seeing the conversion rate used to calculate pension payouts (Umwandlungssatz) reduced, it said.

Unia believes ASIP should have expressed its position on the reform at the time of the referendum, exercising restraint before, out of respect for the principle of equal representation of employees and employers in the board of trustees of Pensionskassen, with “decency, or at least intellectual honesty”, the open letter said.

“We will have to question whether the contributions we pay [to ASIP to represent pension funds] are justified,” it added.

”An association like ASIP which represents joint pension funds must not take sides on such a controversial issue,” Unia stated.

Managers of the pension funds will not shoulder the responsibility and the consequences resulting from giving support to the reform, the letter continued.

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