After being 6.5 years member of the board I’m leaving the board of VMHP. In view of the present developments it is a difficult decision. At the same time it has been a while that no member of the union was available to take over my task. Now time has come I was surprised that one of the many members I approached several times for willingness to take part of the board became available. In this way I could say goodbye in a decent way.

While my career at AkzoNobel just ended and I was looking for activities as volunteer I met Jan Vis telling me he would stop his function in the board of the then VHP and was looking for a replacement. Being member for years I sympathized that VHP. My sympathy was based on the feeling of being protected, providing security. Shortly after ending ones career many ask you to volunteer. Jan’s question was for me an opportunity to fulfill my search for voluntary work. So I started in 2012 as secretary of VHP Akzo Nobel.

Looking back on the years in the board many remarkable situations arise. I remember the overhaul of salary scales, reorganizations, merge of staff departments, the transfer of UNIE-members and many more. Also by the tasks, which I was permitted to do at AkzoNobel, I’m used more to look at the future. I also like to do that now.

While writing this I receive the news, that the takeover of Specialty Chemicals by Carlyle is approved by the European Commission. This ruling is important for the future perspective of many employees. After many acquisitions and sales of several companies we ae expecting a final split. Finding this buyer for Chemicals seems to become the most important event within the company. Coatings and Chemicals connected since 1962 (merge KNZ and Sikkens). The consequences of the sale are not yet quite known. The situation of our pension plays an important role. It appears our employer likes to pay the revenu of the sales at maximum to the stock holders. The employer seems to lack any understanding of the dedication of employees during the preceding situation. The call for support by APF seems hardly heard. Without support specially young employees can expect a dramatically bad pension.

Having ended my tasks at WMHP I have more time to fill in my own future. Time is spent specially to hobbies, which I enjoy most. A lovely walk in the beautiful landscape of Twente or elsewhere helps me to keep my condition and lets me enjoy nature. I feel similar experience going by bike through many parts of Europe. Despite the pension arrears I still have the opportunity to travel around.

My hobby sculpture allows me to carry out my creativity.

Thinking further about the future of employees in both split parts of AkzoNobel and looking at the future with a possibly depreciated pension, but also looking at the environmental effects and burden of efforts to improve, the freedom and independence would at my age be quite disappointing.  Of course technological development takes over a lot, so holidays don’t start by flying to the desired destiny, but virtual glasses can bring you every day to another place in the world. By definition the future  is “uncertain”. Some security is needed, which a well-functioning pension fund can provide for both employees and  pensioners. Give youth a future.

Gerhard Setz