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Shell trying to ignore media firestorm in Norway

Another major article (above) was published in Norway yesterday about the deteriorating relationship between employees and management at the Nyhamna Gas Plant in Norway. The serious problems have been confirmed by independent research carried out by academics commissioned by the SAFE union.

Shell Upstream director Rich Denny (right) was at the plant yesterday desperate to dampen down the flames ignited by the persecution and dismissal of Runar Kjørsvik, the former Main Safety Delegate of the SAFE union. Like an Ostrich, Rich apparently hopes that if he sticks his head in the snow for long enough, the allegations of bullying and spying on employees will go away. Not actually a good idea to leave your corporate backside exposed. Who knows what some disgruntled current or former employee might do!

ROUGH TRANSLATION OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY MY SOURCES (Gives some idea of the content).(“PSA” means PETROLEUM SAFETY AUTHORITY)

Petter Mejlænder Zola Award, today’s Newspaper in Norwegian the ”Klassekampen”

Several have called for a link to Petter Mejlænder comment in today’s class struggle. Therefore, we will post the original long version of the article, that class struggle had to cut in order to get it quickly in place.

THE ARTICLE

SHUT UP! Otherwise, a KJØRSVIK!

PSA sees clearly a negative aspect of safety and working in the oil and gas industry. Therefore, the Authority’s motto for 2017 “The trend is to be reversed”! (See Aftenposten 02.24.2017.) It was time, for the number of warnings increased by over fifty percent from 2015 to 2016. It is a development unions, environmental organisations and scientists have long since warned, most recently in “SAFE union survey 2016”, which was published for a short month ago. The researchers at the Work Research Institute wrote of how employees of the oil and gas industry have felt betrayed because PSA has failed to follow up “more serious conditions.” Now the question is what the Petroleum Institute manages to unravel. The sum of signals and alerts are alarming.

Worse it gets when studying the details. One horror story became known late last year when the former senior safety representative at Shell plant at Nyhamna in mid-Norway, Runar Kjørsvik, told his story. He pointed out serious failures in information and participation as employer restrict employees’ influence over health, safety and environment. The management failed to follow Norwegian law and undermined Tripartite cooperation. Kjørsvik also claimed that the company had not properly monitored employees handling of hazardous chemicals. Moreover, he documented that management systematically cheated with meetings and made up reports, which was thereby misleading.

Shell Norway’s management disliked this main safety delegate thoroughness so badly that he was branded a trouble-maker with psychological problems. A summoned observer trade union SAFE put itself firmly that Kjørsvik was the victim of a systematic management controlled culture of fear. He was defined as “personnel” and now did what it could to get rid of him. Now accustomed apparently when it troublesome senior safety representative was on sick leave. In 2015 he lost his job under pressure from Shell hired a lawyer.

Since then Runar Kjørsvik became infamous, not as a role model because he tirelessly continued efforts oil workers’ legal rights, but because his name is now used as a threat against the current potential troublemakers. (See E24 01.31.2017.) At Nyhamna employees dare not air criticism, either internally or publicly. They know management methods and corporate muscle. They fear reprisals – should they be seen as a “Kjørsvik” as some among the leaders at Nyhamna put it when confronted by troublesome employees.

That such systematic bullying takes place in Norway today is lamentable. That it happens in an oil company’s battle against better safety is outrageous. We are talking about well-paid managers bullying of an employee, as long, with questionable means, is pushed out of business. A bullying which affects one long since laid in the ground. A bullying intending to scare other employees from doing their statutory and legally obliged jobs. I have with your own ears heard today employees tell that this is happening today on Kjørsvik old workplace Nyhamna. It, therefore, seems remarkable that no government agencies, major organisations or politicians have dared to deal with this dirty matter. Now we can only hope that the PSA will do so.

Runar Kjørsvik first became known publicly when evening news reported from union SAFE’s annual conference on 30 November 2016. (SAFE organises oil and gas workers.) The case was especially important for SAFE because Kjørsvik was pushed out in a period of strong job cuts in the oil and gas industry and because the trade union believes the case is representative of an international trend.

After NRK and local newspaper Romsdals Budstikke brought the matter out in public he was given the Zola award on 18 January 2017. Important for the Association was also “Co-determination Barometer 2016”, which late last year concluded that employee influence in their own work had been “considerably weakened ” in the last seven years. Work Research Institute report from January 2017 document deals with Kjørsvik matter in detail and concludes that Shell Norway has created an authoritarian fear culture that muzzles employee representatives. Shells management hide behind a “personnel matter” to avoid having to respond to the serious accusations.

While Shell tie their hands and continue harassment of Kjørsvik and PSA has sent contradictory signals, several other players entered the field, not least because of all the warning messages from other players in the oil industry. Frederic Hauge of Bellona know Kjørsvik case well and says that this is one of the ugliest cases he has seen. (Romsdals Budstikke 27.12.2016.) He believes PSA has failed his mission. Stavanger Aftenblad has had several critical reports,

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