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Swedish white-collar workers reject DC plans

SWEDEN – Swedish labour unions have rejected a proposal by Svenskt Näringsliv, The Swedish Confederation of Enterprise, to introduce defined contribution (DC) plans for all private sector white-collar workers.
However, employers, who met today (June 20) to discuss the situation, have decided to stick to their plans, says Hans Gidhagen, head of pensions and insurance at Svenskt Näringlisv.

Discussions between employees and employers will not restart until September, according to the country’s Federation of Salaried Employees in Industry and Services (PTK), which represents 28 labour unions.
PTK will not accept today’s decision by the employers’, says Karl-Gunnar Skoog, the first ombudsman at the federation. The white-collar workers’ unions will, however, discuss the matter over the summer and publish a reply on September 11, Skoog adds.

PTK was in the majority of those opposing the DC plan drawn up by the employers side, says Gidhagen. He claims that the rejection by the unions means an end to the development towards equal pensions rights for workers in the private sector.

In contrast, PTK says that secure pension plans have to be created so that those on lowest incomes will not lose out, and that local agreements have to be introduced to control quality of pension products, says Skoog.

Swedish blue-collar workers currently have DC schemes, a result of discussions in the mid-90s, and employers pay 3.5% of the workers’ wages to their pension plans. White-collar workers avoided the situation at the time and still enjoy defined benefit schemes.
Skoog believes there might be a satisfactory outcome after the autumn talks but adds:
“ We have tried to twist their employers’ arms for 10 years now.”

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