Pension drama in the Netherlands

The government in The Hague launched an initiative for reviving the negotiations on a pension reform, which have already gone on for eight years. The move came after pension funds threatened with cutbacks because they are running out of reserves. Commentators see the Netherlands' Polder model in which employers, trade unions and government representatives seek a consensus together as having reached its limits.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

This is our Brexit

The pension negotiations are gridlocked because the social influence of trade unions and employers has diminished, observes De Volkskrant columnist Sheila Sitalsing:

“The pension reform negotiations that have dragged on for roughly eight years have become the Dutch Brexit: a hopeless discussion among weakened parties. The trade unions and bosses simply repeat ancient arguments to each other. Only the most dogged among us still have the nerves to continue following this process. And whether anything will come of it remains to be seen. With the Polder model it's hard to do business with weakened partners.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Inflexible unions spoiling people's retirement

If pensions are cut next year it will be the unions' fault, De Telegraaf believes:

“The looming cuts are upping the pressure on the pension reform negotiations in our country. The government is only willing to come to the assistance of the ailing pension funds provided a new system is put in place. ... The negotiations are dragging on, hindered mainly by the unions. But the unions can no longer afford such recalcitrant behaviour. Now is the time for quick action and a new system, otherwise many elderly people will feel the results directly starting next year. And the unions surely cannot want that.”