niederlandeNegotiations about a new pensions agreement in the Netherlands have collapsed amid recriminations between trade unions, employers and the government.

Following consultations with their memberships, the unions presented a joint statement stating that the “lack of structural solutions” on most issues meant they would walk away from negotiations.

Stumbling blocks included the retirement age for the state pension (AOW), early retirement options for workers in hard physical jobs, accommodating self-employed workers into the pensions system, and the discount rate for liabilities. FNV, CNV and VCP, the country’s biggest unions, accused the cabinet of wanting to delay solving these problems.

“However, structural solutions were crucial to the unions,” said Han Busker, chair of the largest union, FNV.

The unions rejected an offer from the government to slow down the AOW age rise by two years, reaching 67 in 2024. The government had offered to set up a committee to look into the disputed mechanism that linked the state pension age to life expectancy increases after 2022, when the retirement age is set to rise to 67 and three months.