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Climate of fear at Shell Nyhamna Gas Plant in Norway

Runar Kjørsvik, the former Main Safety Delegate elected by colleagues at the huge Nyhamna Gas Plant operated by Shell was recently honoured with the 2017 Zola Award at the Norwegian Nobel Institute Exhibition Hall for defending the interests of Shell employees. 

By John Donovan

SHELL MANAGEMENT PERSECUTION OF UNION SAFETY DELEGATE RUNAR KJORSVIK

This is the first in a series of articles about the astonishing story of Shell senior management’s evil persecution of Runar Kjørsvik, the Norwegian elected by his fellow workers as the Main Safety Delegate of the SAFE union at the huge Nyhamna Gas Plant operated by Royal Dutch Shell. He (and his family) ended up being the subjects of a surveillance operation. Shell has the photographs to prove it. Runar was ultimately dismissed.

The veracity of the information contained in the articles will be confirmed by related leaked letters, emails and Shell internal communications. Also, a video filmed by Shell of a premeditated senior management verbal dressing down of Runar Kjørsvik executed in a Shell canteen in front of a crowd of Shell employees gathered for the purpose. They made an example of him in such a dramatic fashion that the memory will likely haunt Runar Kjørsvik for the rest of his life. More importantly to Shell, it will also linger long in the memories of his co-workers as a nightmarish event that can befall anyone who stands up to Shell management in defence of worker rights.

We will publish all of this evidence one-by-one as we proceed.

SAFE SURVEY REPORTS CLIMATE OF FEAR

This story is therefore also about the climate of fear among the former co-workers of Runar Kjørsvik confirmed by independent researchers from academia who conducted a comprehensive survey report for the SAFE union. The report appears to have been triggered by the serious allegations made by him. It turns out that many others share his views. The same phrases keep popping up in the survey – bullying and harassment. The report mentions threats of reprisal. Shell has even resorted to using a hired psychiatrist to act on its behalf. There are also suggestions that the ruthless victimisation of Runar Kjørsvik has deliberately been used as a deterrent threat against anyone foolish enough to copy his courageous, integrity driven example. The SAFE report vindicates many of the claims made by Runar Kjørsvik.

FAINTLY REMINISCENT OF GESTAPO TACTICS DURING NAZI OCCUPATION

After reading all of the evidence my impression is of management behaviour which faintly echoes Gestapo tactics used during the Nazi occupation of Norway, but fortunately without anyone actually being lined up and shot. In the case of Runar Kjørsvik, just humiliation in the presence of his assembled colleagues, loss of his job, the deliberate undermining of his reputation and consequential detrimental impact on his health.

Runar Kjørsvik has been the target of a victimisation campaign by Shell, which has included:

  • a surveillance operation resulting in photographic evidence being gathered and handed over to Shell.
  • total humiliation inflicted at a meeting called in the presence of 150 co-workers assembled specifically for his ostracisation in the staff canteen. As already indicated, Shell filmed the event. I can only shudder about the purpose of so doing.
  • systematic harassment by email and heated criticism (being shouted at).
  • false accusations by Shell managers concerned about losing their bonuses.
  • alleged gossip, smears and false accusations. 
  • a ban on him speaking to his fellow Shell employees.
  • his wrongful dismissal.

Runar has accused Shell management of:

  • exposing plant employees to benzene contamination.
  • manipulating safety-related reports and environment committee meeting minutes.
  • Cutting him out of important safety-related meetings.

Many of the above matters are covered in the survey report.

His story has recently been the subject of growing news coverage by Norwegian press and TV.

2.5 years after becoming Main Safety Delegate, Runar was dismissed by Shell because he insisted on properly representing the interests and safety of the employees that elected him for that purpose. In response, Shell began a campaign of vilification that is still in progress.

SHELL PROPAGANDA – A MESSAGE FROM RICH DENNY

Three weeks ago, Shell circulated internally on the Shell web “A MESSAGE FROM RICH DENNY” – an Upstream Director of Shell Norway. It was a sly cowardly attack on Runar Kjørsvik, who was not named. The assertions made in English and Norwegian assailed his integrity and referred to relevant matters as “personal events in the past”.  Denny said that the “stories’ in media coverage are untrue. The implication being that Runar has not told the truth. Denny also implies that Runar is on a revenge mission and that his actions have impacted adversely on many employees, putting a burden on them. I wonder who the employees feel was actually acting in their best interests. Shell or the highly qualified elected Main Safety Delegate? I think I might know the answer. Rich Denny did admit to “some discomfort” at the situation Shell is in. I suspect it’s rather more than mere discomfort.

FURTHER VINDICATION

Over the weekend proof has emerged that Runar Kjørsvik’s warnings (that Shell ignored) were well founded. He was right and Shell was wrong.

SECRET MEETING AT OSLO AIRPORT WITH SHELL EXECS

Perhaps Mr Denny would care to explain the circumstances of a meeting held secretly on Friday, 27/01/2017 at the Oslo airport Radisson Blu Hotel between Runar Kjørsvik and top Shell executives? A senior official of SAFE, the Norwegian Union for the Energy sector was also present.The meeting happened as a result of questions about Shell’s spying activities on its own employees that were put to Shell in writing by SAFE following the above survey results being published. The rank of those representing Shell suggests not discomfort but outright panic at the prospect that the so-called “past events” are about to catch up with Shell and destroy its reputation in Norway.

YES, SHELL HAS SPIED SECRETLY ON ITS OWN EMPLOYEES – GLOBALLY

With regards to Shell spying on the activities of its employees, I am also in possession of Shell internal correspondence confirming that contrary to its denials, Shell has done so in the past on a global basis, at least in respect of online activity. I will publish the evidence.

SUBJECT TO ANY SHELL INJUNCTION, NEXT ARTICLE WILL BE PUBLISHED WITHIN 48 HOURS 

Subject to any legal intervention by Shell and its army of lawyers, the next article will follow within 48 hours.

SHELL WAS GIVEN ADVANCE SIGHT OF THIS ARTICLE (EXCEPT FOR THE TEXT SHOWN IN RED BOLD PRINT)

(Information to be inserted in the light of any response)

Nothing so far.

ENDS

PLEASE NOTE THAT SHELL EMPLOYEES CAN POST COMMENTS ON OUR SHELL BLOG ANONYMOUSLY. 

3 Comments on “Climate of fear at Shell Nyhamna Gas Plant in Norway”

  1. #1 Albert Trotter
    on Mar 10th, 2017 at 16:14

    Do publish more strong evidence so that this case can get the attention of international viewers

  2. #2 Bjørn A Jacobsen
    on Mar 1st, 2017 at 11:44

    Shell is a great international company. But to cross norwegian law and go to war against the norwegian workers union – LO – is not a wise decision !

  3. #3 Bjørn A. Jacobsen
    on Feb 27th, 2017 at 22:37

    I see that this important åcase go international !

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