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More about Shell “Show Trial” at Nyhamna Gas Plant


Climate of fear at Shell Nyhamna Gas Plant in Norway


Translated script that Nyhamna Gas Plant Manager read from at staff canteen meeting filmed by Shell

Informers regime at Shell Nyhamna Gas Plant

# the company’s so-called Facts Survey was carried out by a lawyer and a psychologist hired by Shell and working within ”Terms of the Reference” created by Shell. It is clear with hindsight that the real purpose of making a Facts Survey about the work environment was actually to seek grounds for the dismissal of the elected Main Safety Delegate, Runar Kjoersvik, perceived by management as a troublemaker. He was too conscientious and too diligent on behalf of co-workers who elected him as their Main Safety Delegate.

# Norwegian rules and regulations say that for a company to make the Facts Survey process legitimate, the company need to have within their enterprise management system an approved guideline/procedure for handling Bullying & Harassment, and also guideline/procedure for handling conflict.

# The Plant manager and Operational manager told the safety division, SAFE Union, and all employees that the Facts Survey was to be conducted according to the Norwegian Labor directorate`s applicable rules.

If a company has not yet adopted these guidelines within their operations, they cannot legitimately start such a process.!

In fact, the Company had ”none” of these in place.!

Described in the link above from the Norwegian w.environment committee it says:

When can a company use a Facts Survey?

A prerequisite for factual investigation can be adopted is that the business has adopted general guidelines (policy) against bullying and harassment, and has procedures (procedures) for how this should be handled.

In routines have elements of faktaunder- Soks described. Only if this is done can the survey be perceived as independent and predictable for those involved

Facts Exploration should only be used when a written complaint exists. Facts Exploration meaning, as the word says, that the employer initiates an investigation to determine if the allegations of bullying or harassment are correct. Is it true that there is bullying or harassment as defined in Working law and Company Policies? Allegations of bullying and harassment should, therefore be examined, in line with the survey companies investigate/report in other personnel matters (use of drugs, etc.) or environmental issues (accidents, threats from users).

Predictability and privacy

An investigation of facts must be perceived as independent and fair. Both those who experience bullying and are accused of bullying, must have confidence in the survey. The framework for factual investigation must, therefore be enshrined in the company’s internal control system and developed in cooperation between the business and the unions. The routines (procedures) must, therefore be drawn up on “green.” When an allegation of bullying or harassment exists, it must be clear how it will be handled, what measures and sanctions that business can use and that procedures will be followed. In addition, an investigation of facts placed within the privacy policy, which applies to other personnel matters in the enterprises.

Facts Survey

The purpose of a factual investigation is to elucidate the facts in a particular case as possible, to help to resolve the matter in business. Facts Survey will safeguard the individual’s rights; integrity and dignity and implemented within the limits described in a separate procedure developed in cooperation between the business. Upon completion of the factual investigation can be used internal resource persons or sought external assistance, but it is the business procedure that must form the basis for implementation.

# the lawyer and psychologist official mission according to the company was to conduct a Facts Survey on the working environment and collaboration between safety division/Union and Shell management at Shell Nyhamna Gas Plant. They used this platform to built a case on false grounds against the main safety delegate to justify an official humiliating ”execution” sought by the local Plant manager, the Operational Manager, HR, and the Managing Director.

# According to Runar, the alleged real bullies in this process were the local Plant Manager Trond Lofstad and the Operational Manager Gunnar Ervik.

# The Managing director of Shell Norway Tor Arnesen approved of this orchestrated victimisation. The Facts Survey was ordered and paid for by Shell.

# The Terms of Reference for the Facts Survey recommended strong cooperation between the company and the employee representative’s so that there would be no misunderstandings. The Facts Survey was supposed to be a guideline to help the company and the employee’s to build a better working environment, this according to rules and regulations of AML law and the Norwegian Labor Inspection.

#Instead, Shell top management had their hired lawyer make the ”Terms of Reference”. Furthermore, management alone approved it without any cooperation at all with the employee’s representative. When the SAFE union protested against the ”terms of reference” (mandate) the complaint was not respected and the company resorted to unethical behaviour, including harassment and pressure tactics used against the Main Safety Delegate. 

Shell even removed the Main Safety Delegate`s witnesses and put in their own extra witnesses from management who conveniently, all collectively suffered from memory loss about their bad behaviour in meetings attended by the Main Safety Delegate. 

# the lawyer and psychologist violated all guidelines from the labor directorate, and the lawyer broke all lawyer ethics standards. He did not follow lawyer guidelines for investigations or respect the Main Safety`s legal rights. Indeed, he violated the Main Safety delegates Basic Human Rights by making the Main Safety Delegate look like a criminal and then treated him as being LawLess.

# Shell/ fact report attacked SAFE Union as being blameworthy.

# The fact report blames the Main Safety delegate of misunderstanding the law, misunderstanding the rules, and misunderstanding the employee’s right to participate according to the law, but the researchers report shows that Shell did not even try to follow Norwegian Law, they show little or no respect for the employee`s representatives and the safety division. When the Main Safety delegate asked for a minimum of employee involvement, management reacted by turning everything upside down to cover up their law violations. Shell attacked the Main Safety delegate with their unethical lawyer and hired psychologist using the Facts Survey.

At the same time, the Facts Survey cleared the whole management by saying that they performed adequate leadership.!

# The law says that once the safety delegate has been elected, management cannot interfere into the way do their safety work. Time spent is supposed to be spent according to activity, and the safety division shall operate free and independent of the companies local management.

Even though this is stated in law Shell`s lawyer stated completely the opposite in the Facts Survey. He claimed Shell acted within the framework of the companies corporate governance right then the company removed the legally elected safety delegate and tried to put in one of their own ”moles.”

Fact Survey report also said:

That the relocation of Runar Kjoersvik was fair and legitimate, and it is not understood why the Main Safety delegate opposed this so strongly. There’s been no indication that the management has gone beyond their corporate governance rights…

Returning to the show trial, the then Plant Manager Trond Lofstad was responsible for perhaps the most humiliating and evil punishment ever inflicted on an employee in the modern age. He read from the prepared indictment:

”The company has started the process to terminate an employment labor contract. This will be treated under the rules of this legislation. The company cannot provide further information from the case because of privacy reasons. This decision has been appealed, and we are awaiting further decisions from the court system.”

Approx 150 employees were sitting in the staff canteen, with the main safety delegate is sitting among his colleague`s suffering complete humiliation since everyone present knew that he was the target of what was being said.

#The Fact Survey report also says:

Regarding claims of a climate of fear, the report says; “There has been NO information either in the written documents submitted in the case or through interview`s that there is a climate of fear at Nyhmna.!

Can anyone even imagine the fear factor the top management has created by doing this Facts Survey report and treating the Main Safety delegate this way, including showing such disrespect for Norwegian Law.! Shell ordered the Facts Survey report for only one purpose. That was to humiliate and destroy employee union building by hammering the Main Safety delegate until his resistance to the corporate bullying and victimisation had died away. But management forgot one important thing…they forgot to take his pulse to see if he was really dead…

During the canteen punishment trial, the plant manager claimed that Shell was working on other measures to improve working relations.

He gave some examples:

1. improvement and systematic cooperation in the working environment committee. AMU/LPU (primary sidebar.)

The only problem here for Shell is that the Facts Survey report and supporting documents prove that the above improvement was done by the Main Safety Delegate. He arranged a common workshop for both management and employee representatives. This is also stated in Shell`s HR Online Goals and Performance as a highly appreciated action carried out by Runar Kjørsvik during his time as Main Safety Delegate.

2. improvement and systematic cooperation in working committee.

Again the very same as commented in no:1. This improvement came as a result of a common workshop suggested by Runar Kjørsvik

3. Cooperation in NYH 2016 reorganisation.

Again the Main Safety Delegate was honoured in Shell`s HR online Goals & Performance for organising the safety division in such way that the input was recognised by the company as a major contribution. This was in 2013 and the start of 2014. Shell later banned the Main Safety Delegate from speaking to his colleagues. They threatened him with lawyers and harassed him because he refused to approve the reorganisation, which was not his responsibility. Management became very angry and retaliated by starting a witch hunt.

4. Follow-up of Shell People Survey 2014, which is anchored in the working environment committee.

Shell People Survey is the survey platform that Shell misrepresents, telling their employee`s that it is Shell`s annual work environment survey. Employees’ are asked to provide comment on the pretext that this information will make a difference, and that Shell will improve their psychosocial environment at work.

Wrong.!! Shell People Survey is not such an approved survey. Instead the Shell People Survey measures Shell`s management`s ability to deliver ”leadership”  and ”employee engagement” for the top management. It is these two parameters that is important to measure as it shows the management ability to deliver and push the employees’ to perform and deliver more…( Shell HR philosophy..)      

5. Meeting with Union representatives in August, where we discussed cooperation. Important that we distinguish cause and person so that this does not prevent cooperation.

Several SAFE Union and Safety reps attended this meeting, but nobody understood what was the agenda of the management. The only thing that became clear was that plant manager and operational manager were not calibrated.

6. Invited to dialogue with safety division Monday, 21 September

As peer minutes of meeting recorded by the safety division the time, nobody in the safety division could understand the purpose of this meeting. Some questions was put to the Operational manager and Plant manager about the purpose of humiliating the Main Safety Delegate in the staff canteen. Questions were also asked why Shell used a lawyer to conduct a Facts Survey that violated lawyer ethics, did not perform Facts Survey according to the rules and regulations for such a survey and operated both as investigator and prosecutor in the meeting about Main Safety Delegate dismissal.

7. Weekly meeting between the Plant Manager and Main Safety Delegate – This means early involvement of the safety division.

Plant Manager was with trying to make it look like Plant Manager and the Main Safety Delegate were holding important weekly meetings about safety issues and early involvement of the employees.

Researchers report and supporting documents shows that these meetings were about something completely different. The purpose was mostly about trying to ”train” the Main Safety Delegate to be loyal to the company. The Plant Manager made several attempts to make the Main Safety Delegate fill out a form to monitor all daily and weekly activities of the Main Safety Delegate by: Day/Time/activity/meetings/who spoke to,  as according to the Plant Manger it was very important for the company to know everything that the safety division was involved with.

Runar reminded the plant manager that this type of monitoring of the safety division is totally out of the question, and such a shocking demand from the company that if this threat was not withdrawn he would contact the PSA as this was such a violation of the Law.

The plant manager also said in his canteen summing up:

It is important to highlight that the company look at the safety division and the employee representative as an important support to ensure a good and safe working environment at the plant, and the company want`s to continue the good cooperation that we have a long experience with at the plant of Nyhamna.

This was all so removed from reality that most employees listening to his claims were in shock.

The purpose of a show trial was to break the will and health of Runar Kjørsvik by inflicting what amounted to a public humiliation in front of his friends and colleagues.

Such an extreme measure leads to the inevitable conclusion that Shell wanted to drive Runar over the edge by terminating his contract by his own free will. Shell management knew that they had gone way too far with their behaviour, and were probably concerned about the prospect of a lawsuit.

The pressure did understandably have an impact on Runar. He contacted the occupational health nurse several times on what was supposed to be a confidential, free and independent basis. Unfortunately, Runar subsequently reached the conclusion that occupational health was in the management`s pocket and acted more like an ”informer” to the company then providing a helping hand in an emergency to a distressed employee.

He also believes that the then Plant Manager, Operational Manager, HR, hired Lawyer, the hired psychologist, and other Shell managers were indoctrinated and blindly obedient to Shell HR philosophy.  In his opinion, they were prepared to do anything to satisfy the system and deliver total loyalty to the ”managing director” so that he again could deliver his milestones to the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Based on his terrible ordeal at their hands, Runar condemns Shell’s HR system as perhaps one of the most devious and evil organised systems operating in the modern western world at this time.

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