Year 2019 started with a Shutdown of the US government. In Great Britain no agreement can be reached about the Brexit and in Italy again a bank has to be supported with hundreds of millions.
In Holland the climate agreement is under discussion and the discussion about pensions continues. After 7 years of negotiation the pension talks broke down. The parliament probably rejects the emergency measure to temporarily increase the interest rate for calculating the pension coverage. So The interest rate stays historically low, bad for the pension funds.
This week I read in the newspaper that big companies lose sight of the interest of employees and they attach no great value to the pensions. Unfortunately I recognize this nearby.
A lot is going to happen in 2019. Also at Nouryon and AkzoNobel, just separated, there will be many new developments. Till the end of 2020 the pension arrangements go parallel, but even already the premiums are different.
Beginning of this year finishing up the CLA’s is on the agenda. Time was running out to do this in December. Members of Nouryon have to chose  a profit share alternative. Then the Nouryon-CLA can be signed and a working party for the pension can start. This working party has 3 month time to look for possibilities for indexation of the pensions and presents the result for a decision of the unions and Nouryon.
At AkzoNobel the next reorganization is announced.

Within VMHP Chemicals and Coatings we are going to split the AkzoNobel members in member groups for representation in the members council. For members of Nouryon we can keep the present arrangement, based on site representation. The rotation schedule of the members council shows that at several sites candidates for succession are required. Last but not least we are looking for a candidate for our board, being member of AkzoNobel.

2019 becomes an interesting and challenging year.
In name of the board I wish you all a prosperous 2019 in good health and a lot of “fun on the job”.

Loek van Driel, chairman VMHP Chemicals and Coatings