Employers should not be able to appoint half of the board members in pension funds

During a meeting on 12 November 2020 the Delegate Council of Efling Union discussed the influence of the members in the Icelandic pension fund system. The outcome is as follows: 

  • Efling members want more and direct influence over the management and decisions in pension funds in accordance with the fact that the funds are in their ownership 
  • Efling members want the pension funds to exercise a more active ownership policy in the companies they invest in, in order to favour social responsibility 
  • Efling members demand the abolition of the agreement by which the employers appoint half of the board members of the pension funds, therefore having the veto power in the board ‘s decisions 

 Resolution of the Efling Delegate Council regarding the authority of the members in the Icelandic pension fund system Approved on 10 December 2020 The Delegate Council of Efling Union, which exercises the highest power regarding union matters, agrees to the following. The retirement rights, which are connected to the Icelandic pension funds, effect from the collective struggle of wage earners and are a direct fruit of their labour. Pension funds and retirement rights are not in the ownership of anyone else, but in the sole ownership of the workers. Therefore, Efling Union lays a claim that the pension funds shall work in accordance to wishes and interests of the fund members. For this to be possible, the arrangement according to which employers appoint half of the pension funds’ boards shall be abolished. It is undemocratic that special interest groups of the employers hold a veto power in the pension funds. This state renders the current framework for the involvement of members in the management of the funds virtually irrelevant and takes away the means for democracy in the funds. Efling Union demands that the appropriate changes in the operation of the pension funds are implemented without further delays. Efling Union rejects the propaganda, which calls the elected union leadership‘s free expression of opinion about pension funds a „shadow management“. One action against such silencing attempts is to demand increased involvement of the working people in the management of the pension funds. Efling Union demands that the pension funds shall bear more social responsibility than currently. It is unacceptable for the pension funds to invest in companies acting in environmentally harmful ways, to trample on the public interest and on direct interests of the members of the funds. Instead, the funds shall be obliged to fully commit that their investment policies support a better and more just society. The pension funds must set a detailed policy for social responsibility, which shall not be shallow rhetoric, but a real demand against companies in which they invest. The funds are obliged to ensure respect for the decisions of the collective agreements and labour law, criteria regarding wage gaps in companies, and full respect for sustainability, environmental protections, and more. Efling encourages an increased discussion on the authority of the members, as well as on the social responsibility of the pension funds.