Parliament seeks balance on Dutch pension boards
NETHERLANDS - MPs in the Dutch parliament have rejected calls for a higher number of pensioner members on pension scheme boards and instead argued lobbying groups should be better represented at industry-wide pension funds.
The three coalition parties - the Christian Democrats CDA, the abour party PvdA and the Christian rightwing party CU - have tabled a motion, asking the government to invite the social partners and representatives of the elderly to come up with proposals for a more balanced composition of the boards.
The motion was launched during a debate about the initiative bill, launched by MPs Stef Blok of the liberal party VVD and Fatma Koşer Kaja of the liberal democrats D66. They want workers to share their 50% of the seats with pensioners, while the remaining 50% of the seats would stay with employers.
The lobbying groups of pension funds, VB and Opf, as well as the Labour Foundation Star, have lobbied against giving pensioners an explicit say, arguing that board members are supposed to serve the interests of all participants of a pension scheme, so representation of one-sided interests would not work within a collective body.
"Moreover, the proposals of Blok and Koşer Kaja are at odds with the new legislation, which says pensioners' views must be organised through the participants' council of industry-wide schemes," said Willem Kroes, deputy secretary of the Star.
According to Kroes, the Star is already developing proposals for increased diversity within pension fund boards.
"As it is mainly older males sitting on the boards of pension funds and in participants' councils, we are looking at how younger workers, women and migrants can be represented as well," continued Kroes.
"If all generations of participants served their own pensions interests, the principle of solidarity within pension funds will soon be abandoned," commented Bert van Boggelen, acting chairman of the union federation CNV.
"The faith in pension funds among young workers is already the lowest of all groups of participants, and this would not improve if pensioners get seats on the boards of pension funds," he added.
Parliament will put the motion to a vote on 8 September.
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