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Achmea removes the climate budget from the collective labor agreement table, but ignores the bill…..

On Tuesday 14 December we continued negotiations about the new collective labor agreement. In addition, for De Unie the conclusions of the results of the previous employee survey and your recent reactions, were central. Limited scope for cost reduction of the pension scheme, 'normal' wage increase, possibility for more choice of own working time (including 4×9) and no link between the collective labor agreement and the social plan. It was also stated that the one-off climate budget offered by Achmea is appreciated, but encounters quite a few practical challenges and should not replace a structural salary increase.

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Reaction Achmea

In response to feedback from vakbondand Achmea has removed the climate budget from the collective labor agreement table and disconnected the social plan negotiations from the collective labor agreement. In addition, Achmea still sees a link between the desired cost reduction of the pension scheme and a possible salary increase. Vakbondand with regard to the latter – for a new collective labor agreement with a term of 2 years – have been given the following options:

  • Structural wage increases of 1% in 2022 and 0,5% in 2023 in combination with a reduction in pension accrual to 1,69% (with a pension premium of 42%).
  • Structural wage increase of 2,5% in 2022 and 0,5% in 2023 in combination with a reduction in pension accrual to 1,55% (with a pension premium of 39%).
  • Possibly 'intermediate' variants, whereby the costs remain the same.

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Amazement

De Unie and the fellow unions have reacted with surprise to this counter-proposal. Not quite the response we expected. On balance, this would still be a huge cost saving on current pension costs in combination with a meager wage offer. And this at a time when costs are rising sharply due to rising inflation and Achmea is still achieving excellent results.

Achmea has not specified exactly what will happen with the climate budget. It is considered very important, so we assume that Achmea will continue with it for the time being. The estimated costs of about 50 million thus seem to have to be earned back at the collective labor agreement table. Achmea denies this, but said earlier that the climate budget "is an integral part of the overall package on the negotiating table and represents substantial value”.
This makes it seem in our view that, even now that this subject is no longer formally on the collective labor agreement, the bill has remained.

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Good will

Of course, concessions must also be made in negotiations. In addition, we believe that if Achmea is prepared to actually take the bill for the climate budget off the table and spend the 50 million on the collective labor agreement, an agreement in principle for a new collective labor agreement should be quite feasible. As a sign of 'good will' we have therefore suggested the following:

  • Wage increase of 3% in 2022 and 3% in 2023.
  • Transition from a purely cost-effective pension contribution to a cushioned cost-effective contribution based on expected return, in combination with equalizing the indexation of pensions of active participants based on the price index. This results in annual savings of approximately €35 million.
  • A pension accrual of 1,786% (with a pension premium of 44%) which is approximately equal to the accrual in 2021, and is therefore slightly lower than the fiscal maximum pension accrual. This results in annual savings of an additional €10 million.
  • Willingness to make agreements about an accelerated transition to the new pension contract, which will reduce the pension costs for Achmea even further;
  • Extending the transitional arrangement of the 34-hour working week by one year (i.e. during the entire term of the collective labor agreement) and the option to continue working 4×9.

Once agreement has been reached on these main points, we will discuss other subjects such as parental leave, the RVU scheme and the unlimited training budget.

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What now?

Achmea has focused on the 'Value Makers' program in order to contribute more quickly to the realization of the 'The Power of Together' strategy. For Achmea, the stepping stone for an even more efficient and effective company, with the aim of structurally increasing the result.

But as far as we're concerned, it's not just about reducing costs, but also about investing in employees. Employees make the difference, but not by reducing labor costs to achieve even better results.

Achmea is increasingly becoming a knowledge company, which means that employees are becoming more important. And that includes a good collective labor agreement with good working conditions. Not only now, but also in the future. That is also investing (one of the three elements in the 'Value Makers' programme).

Employees have expressed themselves clearly about this in both the previous survey and the recent responses. What do THEY think is important. We take this seriously and will continue to try to convince Achmea to do the same.

The next negotiations are scheduled for Monday December 20 expectant. We hope to be able to send you a festive message shortly before the holidays.
We stay positive!

Month of the Vakbond

Achmea recognizes the great importance of strong employee representation. To endorse this, Achmea reimburses the contribution for the first year for employees of Achmea who register as a new member. This offer is valid until January 1, 2022.

Talk about this with your colleagues who are not yet organized and point out to them the usefulness and necessity of membership of a modern and professional trade union such as De Unie. Modern when it comes to how we would prefer to design the collective labor agreement process and professional when it comes to the content! In addition, they can then use all member benefits. More information about this can be found on our website https://www.unie.nl/achmea

Contact

After reading this newsletter, do you still have questions or do you want to share something with representative Huug Brinkers? Please contact him via huug.brinkers@unie.nl or call 06-5252 2077.

 

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