Actions against pension cuts intensify with industrial action

Action against pension cuts for (former) government workers continues with relay strikes today.

Kralendijk- Unions on the island are not pleased with answers received by minister of Interior Affairs, Ronald Plasterk, and secretary of state Jetta Klijnsma, when it comes to imminent cuts in pensions of future and past government workers.

The Pension Fund Caribbean Netherlands (PCN) announced that, due to regulatory requirements, they will be forced to cut the pensions with 3,5% this year, and as much as 12% in 2018. According to the PCN board, the problems for the fund started after it was funded on old ‘Antillean’ criteria, but subsequently placed under supervision of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB). Due to the obligation to reserve more capital for pension payments taking into account current low interest rates and longevity, the coverage ratio of PCN is now at around 80% instead of the required 100%.

Unions had made an appeal on the Dutch Government to postpone the planned cuts in order to find a more acceptable way of dealing with the challenges at PCN. This request was however turned down.

The unions have now mobilized and are, since yesterday, organizing a so called relay strike under all government services on the island. Union leaders warn that if the action and discussions do not lead to tangible results, the actions will intensify, pontentially resulting in general strike.

Commissioner Nina den Heyer told media she too had been suprised by the position taken by the Dutch Government so far. “I am very concerned about the situation of our pensioners, wich is not good to start with” said Den Heyer.

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