Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Shell Stanlow workers offered for sale like slaves in public auction

Ed O’Keeffe Photography

By John Donovan

On 18 August, The Sunday Times published an article: “Essar bids for British oil refinery in Shell auction“. It revealed that “Essar, the Indian energy, steel and shipping group, has made a bid for Royal Dutch Shell’s Stanlow refinery at Ellesmere Port…”

After being contacted by Shell insiders and supplied with internal email correspondence, it has become plain to us that the “auction” provides another classic example of Shell senior management disdain for Shell employees: in this case 800 people.

Self-explanatory extracts from one Shell Stanlow insider who has contacted us…

“I must congratulate you on the depth of information provided on your website… It would appear that Shell are about to shaft their on shore employees in the same manner as your article on the disgraceful treatment of its North Sea oil workers and also its African staff. If the leak of information had not occurred I am sure that Shell would not have informed its staff until a sale had been made.”

We have confirmation from another Stanlow insider source that The Sunday Times article resulted from a leak and that the Stanlow workforce had no prior notice of any such announcement.

This is again confirmed in one of the related leaked Shell internal emails in our possession which reveal the depth of disgust at the turn of events.

The following is an extract from an email sent on 11 August by Lennert Klement of A/S Dansk Shell to senior Shell executives including Tom Botts, Shell’s Downstream Executive Vice President for Global Manufacturing and Hugh Mitchell, Chief Human Resources & Corporate Officer (and member of the Royal Dutch Shell Plc Executive Committee).

We are extremely upset that the above announcement was leaked to the press without any prior warning to the SEF and in particular to the delegates of the Manufacturing Work Group. It is despicable that the Stanlow workforce should hear about their future in the manner that this has occurred. What has happened to Honesty, Integrity and Trust, this is ” Shell Language ” often used by Management, it is with regret that none of this was apparent.

Klement is Chair of Shell European Forum National Trade Union Representative.  The email was also sent to Dr. Agnus Cassens, Bjorn Lindberg, and Lia Belilos, all senior managers at Shell.

Comment from a Stanlow insider source:

“The main concerns of the Shell staff who will be impacted by a sale is the loss of their final salary pensions that have been built up over many years of service but will be adversely affected by not reaching full service due to the sale and the fact that all staff who do not currently have a window open cannot apply for other jobs within Shell and hence remain Shell employees but will be ring fenced and sold as commodities to the new owners.

The intrigue, sense of betrayal and concern over employees being traded like cattle, perhaps to an even more callous owner, is reminiscent of the outcry in December 2007 when Shell decided to outsource 3,200 Shell IT employees.

Extracts from comment received from a Shell IT insider in December 2007:

The most frustrating thing about all this is that Shell employees are getting traded like commodities. We are expected to join the outsourcer without knowing what we will be paid or how we will be compensated, or worse yet, how we will be treated! They talk about how we are getting ‘treated fairly’ but it is anything but.

The feeling of working for many years and giving to a company, to all of sudden be encouraged to join an outsourcer has a feeling of betrayal to it. I do realize that things could be much worse. They are VERY heavily persuading us to join the outsourcing partners. We signed up to work for Shell, not an outsourcer, and there are no guarantees of the unknown. Who knows what will happen once we’re handed over to another company.

In the case of the Stanlow Refinery auction, the workforce could soon found themselves working for the Libyan National Oil Company controlled by the Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, the man ultimately responsible for UK terrorist outrages, including the Pan-Am flight 103 bombing.  What a prospect.


My prayers for Shell Stanlow employees

Future of oil refinery in doubt as Shell considers sale of Stanlow (The Guardian)

Oil giant considers Stanlow sale (BBC News)

Stanlow will stay open, says Shell (Manchester Evening News)

“Shell says it will only sell the refinery as a going concern, and if such a deal cannot be found it will retain the site.” and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

0 Comments on “Shell Stanlow workers offered for sale like slaves in public auction”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: