José Meijer on Thérèse Schets’ retirement

José Meijer on Thérèse Schets' retirement

José Meijer, Vice-President Board of Trustees ABP and Chair of the CWC Trustee Leadership Network, pays tribute to Thérèse Schets, who retired after representing the Dutch Union Federation (FNV) on the CWC Networked Secretariat.

On March 7th 2020, Thérèse Schets retired. On that same day, she was going to pick up a new small camper. She planned to make some nice trips with her husband all over Europe.

I am afraid that she has not gone anywhere yet. The corona-crisis has hit Europe hard since then.

Therese said goodbye to us with a symposium in the union building De Burcht in Amsterdam on March 4th. We had a very nice afternoon and evening reception where we listened to different speakers who told us about Just Transition. In that way, Thérèse showed us that from working life to retirement, we need a Just Transition framework to apply to not only climate change, but digitalization and respecting natural resources.

Nick Robins, David Wood, Xander den Uyl made contributions. Sam Smith from the ITUC and Tuur Elsinga, Chair of CWC paid their respect to the Just Transition and to Thérèse.

Thérèse Schets worked for Shell as a chemist analyst. It was here that she learned how important it was for female workers to organise themselves and to make sure that their voices were heard at the highest levels of the union. Since that time, this energy never left her. For the past 5 years, she dedicated that energy to the CWC.

As a previous treasurer of the FNV and a pension fund trustee at the fund for cleaners, Therese never stopped telling us how important it is to make workers’ money (pension fund capital) work for workers. She kept telling us that we really should pay more attention to the S in ESG.

Thérèse never grew tired of talking about her important work for the Committee on Workers Capital. She was, in many ways, the heart of the CWC.

Therese was very active in the Dutch pension fund world, where she wrote all kinds of guidelines to help the average trustee bring union work into pension fund practice. She worked with all kinds of researchers to make the union agenda more common.

Thérèse worked as a policy-secretary for the Dutch CWC chair. They depended on her for well written policies and her colleagues depended on her travel-apps when they went to Berlin, Paris or San Francisco for the annual CWC Conferences and PRI. Which bus do we have to take? Can you tell me where to buy this or that? Where can we meet each other? We were grateful for her very thoughtful way of including us all.

Thérèse - you were a resource for the CWC policy work, a wonderful colleague and your dedication inspired us.

We are sorry that you had to retire. Thank you for all your good work and your ongoing commitment to a good cause.

By José Meijer