The German Federation of Chemical Employers’ Associations (BAVC) and trade union IGBCE plan to extend the social partner pension model signed in April for the chemical industry to other industries, with the possibility to pick other pension funds to offer pure defined contribution (DC) schemes.

The union IGBCE, whose members are also active in the rubber, plastic, and paper sectors among others, is open to include other industries in the future in the social partner model.

However, “the decision will not be taken by the collective bargaining parties but by the parties on sites”, at company level, said Michael Mostert, the representative of the IGBCE, yesterday during the annual meeting for the occupational pension association Aba in Berlin.

The social partners have also left open the possibility that other pension institutions can offer pure DC schemes in the future beyond the Chemie Pensionsfonds that is designated for the social partner model in the chemical industry.

“This time […] the collective bargaining agreement is designed in a way that after a first step where the Chemie Pensionsfonds is the pension institution for us, also other pension funds have a chance to offer a pure DC on the basis of our collective bargaining agreements,” Mostert said.

The employer and employee representatives in the chemical industry have decided that the social partner model will add to other occupational pension arrangements and employees won’t be required to join it.

“We have given the first draft [of the pension model] to BaFin and we have received a comment from BaFin, therefore we are optimistic that we can present a collective bargaining agreement by 30 June,” Mostert said.

He added, however, that is “decisive” whether the financial supervisory authority, BaFin, will give the green light to the social partner pension model.

BaFin has not yet given its approval to the social partner model negotiated by insurer Talanx and the union Ver.di.

BAVC and trade union IGBCE expect to start the new pension model from 1 October 2022.

“We think that we are at the finishing line of a social partner model,” confirmed Lutz Mühl, BAVC’s managing director, adding that the partners want to sign all the necessary papers to get started.

In April this year BAVC agreed with the trade union IGBCE to sign the first industry-wide social partner model for occupational pensions in the chemical industry setting the deadline for 30 June.

It isn’t a coincidence that the social partner model in the chemical industry is moving towards the finishing line now, according to Mühl, who added that organisations needed time to convince members of a new path for pensions.

It has taken time since February 2020 when social partners considered designing a new pensions model for the chemical industry, coming to the conclusion that “we need new ways to regain attractiveness” within occupational pensions, Mühl said.

The reduction of the maximum interest rate (Höchstrechnungszins) to 0.25% in January this year, from 0.9%, was “surprising” and reinforced the conviction that pension promises in the form of Beitragszusage mit Mindestleistung (BZML) and the Beitragsorientierte Leistungszusage (BOLZ) with a reduction of guarantee were not viable options anymore, he said.

Therefore last summer BAVC and IGBCE looked at alternatives and started assessing the possibility of a new pension model.

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