She was due to take office on July 1, but due to the corona crisis, predecessor Hans de Boer stayed a little longer. But today, on Budget Day, is Ingrid Thijssen’s first working day as the new chairman of the employers’ organization VNO-NCW.
Thijssen starts at a turbulent time: many companies are struggling and depend on government support. “I think we have made good agreements in recent months about the aid package and investments to get out of the crisis. Those aid packages are generous, but that will change once. We have to come up with new initiatives,” Thijssen said in the report. NOS Radio 1 News.
In the near future, people will lose their jobs due to the crisis. The business community has an important role to play in this, says Thijssen. She wants to guide employees from work to work. “Traditionally, people who lose their job first end up in the bins of the UWV, we have not yet organized that properly in the Netherlands.” As an example of how it should be done, she mentions the collaboration between KLM and Actiz, the trade association for healthcare organizations, which are looking at how flight attendants can switch to a job in healthcare.
Listening and offering solutions
Thijssen, former director of NS and energy company Alliander, is also concerned. “The image of the business community is not very good at the moment. It is important to restore the connection between the business community, entrepreneurs and society and politics. My role in this is to listen carefully and come up with creative solutions.” She does not give concrete examples. “There are incidents that do decent entrepreneurs short. I want companies to take their social responsibility.” She does not want to call her approach Soft: “If you want to solve a major problem, everyone has to step over their shadow.”
The new chairman of VNO-NCW also wants to make the Netherlands future-proof. “Sustainability is a major issue facing the Netherlands and the whole world, but there are also current issues: how do we get out of the crisis or how do we keep healthcare affordable. I am someone who is passionate about solving major issues and used to to work at the interface of companies and the Hague. That helps in this position. “
The employers’ organization has traditionally had a powerful lobbying position. Thijssen’s predecessor, Hans de Boer, was known as ‘provocative’ and his predecessor Bernard Wientjes was also regularly in the spotlight. Some well-known statements by De Boer, such as his comment that people on social security benefits are ‘labekbak’ who are better off picking asparagus, he was not widely appreciated. “Words like that will probably not be my words, but we must not forget that he worked unprecedented hard and managed to bring about the pension agreement.”
In the past two months, Thijssen has been involved in negotiations about the pension agreement and talks about the emergency package. “What Hans de Boer has said to me several times: you have real reality and political reality and you have to deal with that. I have to connect both worlds.”
On the third Tuesday of September, VNO-NCW normally organizes the traditional Prinsjesdag drink, but it is canceled now. “Too bad, that would be a perfect time to meet everyone.” Instead of the drinks, the employers’ organization is organizing a webinar with the Prime Minister about the cabinet’s plans.
Hans de Boer has resigned his role as chairman of the employers’ organization VNO-NCW. In this video you will hear five of his most striking statements: