On Wednesday, May the 19th, the unions of the organized consultation (ABVO, ACOM, NAPB, and STrAF) and the mandated employer on behalf of the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) reached a negotiation result on the pension scheme and the employment conditions for central government civil servants in the Caribbean Netherlands for a period of three years.
An important subject during the negotiations was pension accrual. This is under pressure due to the worsened economic situation and the interest rate development that goes with it. With the low-interest rates, the executive organization of the Pension fund Caribbean Netherlands (Pensioenfonds CN) can no longer realize the agreed pension accrual of 1.75% per year. This is necessary to achieve an income at the retirement age of about 70% of the average salary for 40 years of service.
Under the current pension scheme, employees could face an enormous loss of income when they retire. To prevent this, the negotiating parties came to the following agreements: an increase in the retirement age to 66 as of 2030, a limitation of pension accrual to a maximum annual income of $47.500,- and a modernization of the disability pension. This will prevent the decline in income over time and the pension contribution does not have to be increased.
In addition to the measures to preserve the agreed pension, the unions have reached a negotiated agreement with the mandated employer for a three-year benefits package. This package includes a one-time payment in 2021, a reduction in working hours to a 36-hour week, and an allowance for civil servants in high-risk professions, starting in 2022.
Through the reduction of working hours, approximately 50 new jobs will be created on the three islands in the Caribbean Netherlands. This was very important for the unions and employer to realize, especially because of the economic consequences of Covid-19.
The parties involved conclude that at the negotiating table a balanced result was achieved which can now be presented to the own union members.