‘Expertise and experience are essential for successful EWC’

PPG Industries is a global manufacturer of paints, coatings, and specialty materials. It’s a Fortune 200 company with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and operations in nearly 70 countries around the world. The group has annual sales of about USD 18 billion and 52,000 employees worldwide, including some 15,000 in Europe. There are currently 13 countries represented in the PPG EWC.

Marcel Akkerman has worked at the company, better known in the Netherlands as Sigma Coatings, for over 33 years. “Besides my role in the central purchasing department, fifty percent of my time is spent on works council activities. For the Dutch Works Council as well as the European Works Council, I have been chairman for over a decade.”

“For over two decades, we have been cooperating with Petra Molenaar as our external consultant for our PPG EWC. When she told us, earlier this year, that she was starting her own business, it didn’t come as a complete surprise. For us, it was no problem. We are very satisfied with her work for PPG. In this field, continuity, and experience are very important, as well as having good relationships. We have such a good relationship with Petra that no topic is ever off-limits. For us, she fulfills several important roles, as a consultant as well as a trainer.”

“Although we also have other experienced people internally on the EWC, her input, knowledge, and experience are still very important. The fact that she is from the outside, enables her to see things in a non-biased way and to freely express her opinion, unhindered by PPG interests and agendas. This is of great importance.”

Regular restructuring
“The PPG business as a whole is very stable and has always been profitable because our products cover a broad spectrum, ensuring there are always segments going well. But at the same time, PPG as a group is always looking for cost savings and growth through acquisitions and takeovers. This means that restructurings regularly take place. As PPG EWC, it’s our goal to be included in the discussions and to be consulted if and when needed.”

“Over the years we have managed to establish a solid basis for the exchange of information, opinions, and ideas, between the EWC and PPG management. This enables us to play our part promptly when certain strategic decisions need to be made.”

Good relationship with management
“PPG management is well aware of the role of an EWC. It also knows which subjects are legally required to be discussed with us. However, the EWC should always be alert not to have anything escape its attention. Especially when global activities are concerned, there is always a risk that we – in Europe – are suddenly surprised by certain developments. This potential area of tension remains, but by being a valued and experienced partner at the table, we can minimize as EWC, or preferably prevent, such situations.”

“In my opinion the relationship between EWC and our management is good. We have earned our position at the table when certain decisions need to be made.
At the moment we are seeing that developments around the ‘Green Deal’ are becoming a serious factor that will impact us as a company. So, we’re eager to stay on top of this and to make sure that we as EWC can continue to exert our influence. With expert support from Pemota!”

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