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Pensioners seek more clout in unions’ link up

NETHERLANDS - The largest union FNV and the union for the elderly ANBO are thinking of building closer ties to provide more clout for pensioners.

"Both parties could develop common policies, for example, on second pillar pensions, the state pension AOW and income," ANBO spokesman Frank van der Aa said.

Moreover, as part of the FNV organisation, the ANBO could get a seat on the Social and Economic Council (SER) and the Labour Foundation (Star), he added.

Recent common initiatives, such working on as on the AOW gap, have revealed the activities of FNV and ANBO in relation to pensioners are both overlapping and complementary, the organisations said in a joint statement.

According to Van der Aa, the ANBO would like to have a say in issues such as indexation and, in particular, would like participation on the boards of pension schemes.

"We are not happy with the present voluntary arrangements on participation, and we will certainly press for legislation," he stressed.

FNV governor Leo Hartveld also suggested "a link up is a golden opportunity for the solidarity between young and older workers" as he believe "an extended service could keep elderly members longer with our organisation".

The ANBO has over 186,000 members - a number which could be more than doubled and would make ANBO the largest union for the elderly if all FNV members over the age of 65 are allowed to join the ANBO. Together, the ANBO and the FNV could have almost 1.4m members.

FNV and ANBO plans are still subject to consultation but if their members agree, the new set-up could start as of 1 January 2008.

Elsewhere, the Dutch Association of Insurers (VvV) and Care Insurers Netherlands (ZN) announced they have entered into an agreement which could lead to a merger in 2009.

Thanks to the new private care system introduced in the Netherlands last year, the differences between the Dutch National Health Service (‘ziekenfondsen') and private care insurers have disappeared so the interests of VvV and ZN have increasingly synchronised, both parties said.

"As an added benefit, a closer cooperation will make the development of care-integrated pension products easier," VvV spokesman Hennie Zoontjes said.

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