Shell workers’ mandatory Trump rally, Dutch comment


This 17 August 2019 video from the USA is called Pittsburgh [Shell] plant workers just revealed they had to go to Trump’s rally or go without pay.

Translated from Stevo Akkerman, in Dutch daily Trouw today:

Royal Dutch Shell, I cannot discover anything royal about it

When thereis talk about Shell abroad, the corporation is always referred to as Royal Dutch Shell. I know that “royal” means little, witness the existence of royal paint materials, tour boats, bicycle brands and brass bands. But still: if Shell lends itself to an Orwellian election show for Donald Trump, it will feel a little bit more rotten because of the Dutch link and the royal halo than if another oil corporation would do so.

Shell forced thousands of employees last week to enthusiastically attend a Trump visit to a petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania. That is, everyone was free to stay at home, we are not talking about North Korea, where cheering for the great leader is a religious duty. In America no one is obliged to worship the president. But Shell did impose a hefty fine on refusal: whoever did not want to be applauding sheeple for Trump had to take a day off, and would therefore not receive a salary. This also canceled the bonus for overtime – a total sacrifice of around 700 dollars.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which brought this news on Saturday, also reported that the good workers had to clock in at 7 a.m. and then had to wait until after lunch for the president. There were strict rules of conduct: no protests, no shouting, no dissent. So that Trump could claim without blushing or being ashamed that this factory would never have existed without him – in reality it is a legacy from the Obama years. Trump also denounced some Democratic politicians and called on Shell workers to pressure their union leaders to support him. They don’t do that? “Vote them the hell out of office!”

Coincidentally, the president

According to a Shell spokesperson, it was an ordinary training day, except that “the guest speaker happened to be the president.” That is of course possible. Every company gets the guest speaker it deserves. And Trump is the champion of the fossil sector, the man who withdrew his country from the Paris climate agreement; they did not have to be afraid at Shell that they had accidentally brought in a critical speaker. But forgive me if I take Shell’s solemn statements about their sense of social responsibility a little less seriously after this training day.

The company’s international website states the following core values: “Honesty, integrity and respect for people.” These people also like to point out the support for “social, cultural and educational projects in the vicinity of our locations”. I do not know. For years, the company has resisted measures to prevent global warming, while in-house research in 1986 showed that “some parts of the earth may become uninhabitable.”

In the Netherlands, Shell is doing everything it can to not pay taxes. In the USA, they promote Donald Trump. It may be just me, but I cannot discover anything royal about it.

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