NETHERLANDS – Between 2,500 and 3,000 jobs are to go in the next three years as Dutch pension management firms Achmea and Interpolis merge.

The firms’ management have indicated that there will be almost no forced job reductions – with most going by natural wastage.

The two firms announced they would combine last year and received approval for the move last August.

Achmea’s human resources director Hans van den Brink noted that 8% of its staff left or retired last year in 2005 – which works out at 4,000 staff over three years.

At present, the two companies have a combined workforce of 19,000 full-time workers.

The Dutch trade unions expect that most reductions will be targeting current ‘flextime’ workers or external parties.

Analysts expect that there will still be forced redundancies, as the normal flow of retirements or leavers will not cover the stated volume.

The trade unions still have to green light the decision, before a so-called social plan can be put together. Achmea indicated to the press that a formal advice and consultation round will start with the Centrale Ondernemings-raad (Central Works Council).