SWITZERLAND - The pension fund of wholesaler Migros (MPK) has launched a plan to push up the retirement age for its members from the current 62 to 63.

Over 90% of the delegates of the MPK - consisting of two thirds of workers' delegates and a third of employer representatives – have agreed with the solution. But trade unions have been quoted by the Swiss press as describing the change - scheduled for 2005 - as “unnecessary and wrong”.

Attributing the change to the demographic trend, MPK assured in a statement that all workers aged 57 and older can still be able to retire at 62 during a transition period of five years.

“Contributions are not increased by the regulation revision. Further, two-thirds of the contributions as well as the administrative expense are paid by the employer,” MPK said.

Meanwhile the pension fund of the post office has announced that its financial situation has improved. The coverage ratio of the scheme has increased from 84.4% to 90%.

The net yield on the total assets amounted to 8.31% in 2003, after –3.1% in the previous year. In 2003 the pension fund has had a yield surplus of CHF 460 million (€302.5 million).

“This good result is to be due in particular to the pleasing plant result,” it said.