Expatica News: Shell strike ends with agreement on pension reform: On Thursday morning the CNV chemical union threatened the dispute would spread to Shell's NAM petroleum facilities at Emmen and The Hague. But by evening the FNV and CNV unions confirmed a deal had been reached.: Thursday 3 November 2005
AMSTERDAM Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell and trade unions reached an agreement on Thursday afternoon on reform of the company pension scheme.
The deal brings ends industrial action at Shell's Moerdijk plant in North Brabant Province and the Pernis refinery in the Rotterdam.
Workers began shutting down production at the two locations on Monday but the action was suspended on Wednesday when both sides agreed to resume talks. Pernis produces 418,000 barrels per day and is Europe's largest refinery.
On Thursday morning the CNV chemical union threatened the dispute would spread to Shell's NAM petroleum facilities at Emmen and The Hague. But by evening the FNV and CNV unions confirmed a deal had been reached.
At issue was the company's insistence 9,000 Shell employees and 1,800 workers at NAM would have to begin pension contributions - something they have not done for years. The company also wanted to increase the retirement age from 60 to 65.
The employees will pay a 2 percent pension premium. To enable them to avail of early retirement, Shell will pay 3 percent of the present and future salaries of employees into a levensloopregeling (individual life-cycle savings scheme).
Under this scheme, workers can save money from their gross wage, and taxation is deferred until the time when the saving is drawn down.
The funds in the savings account can be used for various forms of unpaid leave, such as caring for children or ill parents, schooling, a sabbatical or early retirement. The maximum amount that can be saved is 210 percent of the latest annual gross wage.
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