Engaging with stakeholders for mutual benefit
Engagement with organised labour
Across all jurisdictions where organised labour structures are in place, we engage positively with the relevant union structures to seek mutually-beneficial outcomes to the issues raised by employee representatives. We comply with local legal and regulatory frameworks as well as with international codes, including those of the labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Union representation is high (between 60% and 100%) at most operations, apart from those in Australia and the USA. In these jurisdictions there are no organised labour structures in place at our operations, as is characteristic in these regions.
Inevitably, there are regional variations in specific concerns raised through organised labour structures and the engagement strategies implemented. This review primarily covers operations in the South African and Continental African region, as this is where issues in respect of our engagement with organised labour have historically arisen. At Obuasi, intensive engagement with organised labour was undertaken through the transition of this operation to the limited operations phase and the retrenchment of the workforce.
In South Africa, the level of unionisation is high at approximately 97% of the workforce. The majority of gold producers bargain centrally, through the Chamber of Mines of South Africa. Historically, the largest union has been the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which currently represents approximately 48.6% of AngloGold Ashanti employees. More recently, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has gained membership share and now represents approximately 33.1% of employees in the South Africa region. AMCU is now fully integrated in all statutory labour and ad hoc committees. The balance of employees is either non-unionised ( 5.3%) or affiliated to the United Association of South Africa (UASA - 9.8%), Southern African Equity Workers Association (0.1%) and Solidarity (3.1%). Formal recognition agreements are in place in respect of NUM, AMCU, Solidarity and UASA.
During 2014, we continued to work with organised labour representatives to incorporate them more meaningfully in dialogue on business issues. In particular, we have engaged with representatives on the economics of our industry, the gold market and on the legal and statutory framework regulating industrial relations in South Africa. We have identified and secured agreement for a core leadership team across all unions representing our workforce to undertake an entry-level management programme at a South African university during 2015. The objective of this initiative is to engage in a new way with organised labour in the interest of moving to a relationship where we can identify business and labour aspirations and chart a pathway towards achieving them.
During 2015, we plan to embark on wage negotiations to renew our current two-year wage agreement, expiring in July 2015. There are a number of factors which may impact on these negotiations, which take place in the context of the increasingly challenging labour relations landscape. These include:
- Recent restructuring at AngloGold Ashanti as a result of the low gold price;
- The dismissal of 539 employees in 2013 at the Moab Khotsong mine in the Vaal River area following an unprotected strike at that operation; and
- Litigation currently underway as a result of the 2013 wage negotiations. During these negotiations, when it proved impossible to meet the terms of the settlement proposed by AMCU, the terms of the agreement reached with unions representing 72% of employees in the bargaining unit was extended to all employees, including AMCU members and non-unionised employees, in terms of the legislation in place. AMCU has applied for leave to appeal certain aspects of the extension of the agreement. This leave to appeal was denied by the constitutional court, but has been granted by the labour court. The matter is expected to be heard towards the end of 2015.
Despite the current labour climate, AngloGold Ashanti has experienced a relatively peaceful and constructive relationship with organised labour during 2014, and no significant work stoppages occurred at its operations.
Continental Africa Region
Overall, the labour relations climate has remained positive and stable across the region throughout the period.
Ghana - Obuasi Mine
The labour relations climate at the Obuasi Mine in Ghana remained peaceful through the transition period to limited operations and the workforce retrenchment process. The relationship with Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) has been mature and constructive. In particular, the GMWU has worked together with AngloGold Ashanti to:
- Jointly identify ways of minimising the negative impact of the workforce retrenchment process;
- Partner in engagement with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, adopting a supportive approach to the business on its Amendment to the Programme of Mining Operations (APMO) submission;
- Partner at numerous national and local media engagements, including town hall sessions, media conferences and press releases; and
- Partner in our engagement with key stakeholders, such as the traditional authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the members of the ministerial select committees and other members of parliament.
Ghana - Iduapriem Mine
At the Iduapriem mine, the existence of two different unions representing different categories of employees presents a dynamic and challenging labour relations environment. Negotiations covering the 2014 period were protracted and took several months to finalise. However, a mutually beneficial settlement agreement was reached without loss of production.
The current three-year collective bargaining agreement is expiring in October 2015. Negotiations and review of the agreement is scheduled to begin during the first half of 2015.
At Siguiri in Guinea, the annual 2014 wage negotiations were concluded amicably with the majority trade union, the Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs de Guinée (CNTG). A stable labour relations atmosphere was maintained during the year.
In Mali, annual wage negotiations applicable for both the Yatela and Sadiola mines were successfully concluded for 2014 and 2015.
As part of the Yatela mine closure, a life skills training programme for employees facing retrenchment was completed in November 2014 with courses including cattle breeding, vegetable farming and small business management. For additional detail, see the section responsible closure at the Yatela mine in Mali.
At the Geita Gold Mine in Tanzania, maiden annual wage negotiations with the Tanzanian Mines Energy Construction and Allied Workers Union (TAMICO) were concluded. During the year, TAMICO entered into a full recognition agreement following the union's achievement of the majority status required for the purpose of collective bargaining.
Minimum notice periods for operational changes
At all our operations employees are given adequate notice periods regarding significant changes in the business. Significant changes are those that directly affect the employee and the employer. At each operation the notice period is determined by the nature of the contract with the employee, legislation and various collective bargaining agreements. The minimum notice periods varies from country to country:
- South Africa: The minimum notice period in terms of the country’s Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995 is four weeks for employees who have been employed for more than one year. This can go up to six months depending on the complexity of the matter.
- Mali: a maximum of three weeks’ notice is prescribed.
- Guinea: no specific notice period is required.
- Tanzania: four weeks’ notice period.
- Ghana: when changes are contemplated, the recognised trade unions are given three months’ notice, in line with recognition agreements.
- Columbia: no specific notice period is required.
- Argentina: no specific notice period is required.