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By John Donovan

I briefly mentioned in an earlier article an unusual meeting held in a canteen located within the Shell Nyhamna Gas Plant in Norway. 

It seems to have been some kind of show trial with evidence only being presented by the prosecutors – belligerent senior Shell managers who had already reached a guillotine verdict on the accused party, Runar Kjørsvik.

The plant manager Trond Lofstad read from a pre-prepared indictment. A non-professional translation can be read here.

The current hardline regime at the gas plant seems determined to intimidate employees. 150 of them were ordered to attend for this purpose so that they could witness the entire cringe-making spectacle.

They were not gathered in the canteen court to knit and hurl abuse at the accused, but instead, to be intimidated and cowed less they be next in line to raise safety issues.

Shell filmed the event, presumably so that the intimidation could be spread to an even wider audience.

Supposedly for privacy reasons the man in the dock was not named in the indictment. It was not necessary. Everyone present knew his identity, Runar Kjørsvik, the elected Main Safety Delegate of the SAFE union.

His crime? Diligently representing the legitimate interests of co-workers who elected him for that very purpose. His integrity was called into question and his sacking was referred to in the canteen proceedings, at which he was not legally represented. (Shell made a further assault on his integrity in an extraordinary “message” from Shell Upstream Director Rich Denny published on the Shell web).

Trond Lofstad delivered a verdict on Runar Kjørsvik reached by a judge and jury bought by Shell – a hired unethical lawyer and a hired psychologist.

Shell made an example of Runar Kjørsvik in such a dramatic fashion that the memory will likely haunt him 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.

Comments about the meeting and relevant Shell executives and managers can be read here.

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