In a move that mirrors the experiences of its neighbor across the channel, the UK, the Belgian government has incurred the wrath of trade unions by announcing plans to increase the retirement age for it citizens to 60.

As the London government has received severe criticism for suggesting the retirement age in the UK should be increased to 67, so Belgian trade unions have responded negatively to the idea of upping the pension age from 58 to 60.

According to a report on Investment & Pensions Europe, the FGTB, one of the largest trade unions in Belgium, has described the government plans as being a step backwards in social legislation.

In contrast business groups in the Low Countries nation have welcomed the move in the main, their main reservations regard the number of possible exceptions to the increase. Some groups of worker, such as manual laborers, may be allowed to maintain a retirement age of 58.

The new scheme is slated to come into force in 2008.