Employee relations

EMPLOYEE RELATIONS

The relationship between the recognised unions and Amplats has been regulated by a collective agreement, the Employee Relations Recognition Agreement (ERRA). 
In 2011, Amplats concluded its employee relations values charter with the recognised unions. The charter embraces the current Company values and is used as a guide when the Company and the unions engage each other on any employee-related issue. The application of the charter’s behavioural and grievance procedures in relation to affected employees has a fundamental influence on the determination of case outcomes.

The four trade unions currently recognised through the ERRA have been the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the United Association of South Africa (UASA) and the Togetherness Amalgamated Workers’ Union of South Africa (TAWUSA). Together, these unions have represented some 80% of Amplats’ workforce.

The parties to the ERRA committed themselves to working together to gain employees’ understanding of and support for the Company’s vision, values and strategies. The ERRA offers five partnership structures for dialogue and consultation, to ensure that issues or disputes are dealt with speedily and sound relations maintained between Amplats and the recognised unions’ representatives. There is also a current wage agreement in place between the recognised unions and the Company, which regulates the wages of employees and other terms and conditions of employment until 
30 June 2013.

Amplats renegotiated a two-year wage agreement with the unions in 2011. 
In terms of this agreement, employees in the A and B bands of employment received a 10% increase in 2011 and qualified for a 9% increase in 2012. Employees in the C to D1 bands received an 8.5% increase in 2011 and qualified for an 8% increase in 2012. 
(If the 12-month average year-on-year consumer price index reached 8% in 2012, then the wage increase would be 8% plus 2% for the C and D1 bands, and 9% plus 2% for the A and B bands.)

The minimum wage increased to R4,500 and R5,000 for surface and underground employees respectively. The living-out allowance and the minimum homeowner’s allowance for permanent enrolled employees increased by 5% to R1,654 per month and R2,500 per month respectively.

Despite the existence of the ERRA and the wage agreement, in 2012 Amplats faced unprecedented demands for wage increases and changes to other terms and conditions of employment outside the recognised structures. These demands were formulated by “strike” or “workers” committees that operated outside the recognised union structures. They were accompanied by an unprotected strike action lasting eight weeks between September and November 2012, and also by sporadic work stoppages at different operations. The committees demanded that salaries be increased to between R12,500 and R16,000 per month.

The unprotected strike affected the mining and processing operations in the areas around Rustenburg, Union and Amandelbult. It was resolved approximately nine weeks after the start of the unrest. Altogether 12,000 employees were dismissed as a result of the unprotected strike and they were later reinstated.

The total number of employees directly involved in the unprotected strike was approximately 30,000. The strike lasted 60 days, which amounted to a total of about 4.5 million lost man-hours of production, and a loss of 
R185 million in wages.

The details of the three employees who died from non-natural causes are as follows:

  • Mr Mtshunquleni Qakamba aged 48 who joined the Company in 2007 and worked as a Lightweight Machine Operator at Siphumelele 1 Shaft.
  • Mr Elias Moomi Mokgwapha aged 50 who joined the Company in 1983 and worked as an Engineering Assistant at Rustenburg Section Tailings.
  • Mr Rafael Quive aged 56 who joined the Company in 1993 and worked as a mono-winch operator at Tumela Mine.

In all security incidents the Company at the very least undertakes the following:

  • Communicates policy to all relevant partners, clients, contractors and host governments where appropriate and consults with them concerning the human rights issues involved.
  • Conducts risk assessments to identify the potential for human rights abuses.
  • Due diligence processes are carried out before hiring employees 
    or contractors to work as security guards.

The Company complies with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. At the height of the strike the Company brought an additional 1,538 contract security personnel to protect its assets 
and employees at its operations.

COMMUNICATION POLICY AND STRUCTURES

In 2012, the Company implemented an employee communication policy, with the following objectives:

  • To promote the empowerment of line management, the emphasis being on line managers’ responsibility as the Company’s primary communicators with employees.
  • To provide a common approach to communication within the Company.
  • To ensure an understanding of the communication roles and responsibilities of all parties in the Company.
  • To provide a framework of support resources for line managers, making it easier for them to achieve sustainable success in their communication with employees.
  • To monitor and audit the effectiveness of employee communication, thereby ensuring an understanding of how to improve on its weaknesses.

The policy also details the structures of communication at various levels of the organisation (one example is supervisors having face-to-face meetings with their teams to discuss production and safety issues).

Corruption risk

The Company does not tolerate any form of corruption. The risk posed by corruption is considered – along with many other forms of risk – as part of the risk assessments conducted. Internal audit procedures also consider the risk of corruption within any process that is reviewed, and assess the controls that are in place to mitigate the risk. If these controls are not deemed sufficient, this is reported along with injunctions to management for action. The procedures for both the risk-management and the internal audits are aimed at identifying broad risks facing the business. 
Management remains responsible for the operation of controls intended to minimise the risk of corruption.

Approximately 60% of total employees at Band 5 and above attended anti-corruption training.

Disciplinary procedures

The Company’s disciplinary procedures are intended to induce behaviour modification in instances where an employee has committed misconduct. All disciplinary cases are judged based on their substantive and procedural merits. The disciplinary sanctions (outcomes) range from counselling to termination of the employment contract (for serious transgressions that are detrimental to sound running of the Company and thus render continued employment intolerable).

An employee has a right to appeal against the sanction that was imposed by the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing. As in the disciplinary hearing, the appellant has a right to be represented by a fellow employee or a trade union representative during the appeal hearing.

Any appeal process is confined to the merits on which the request for relief is based, as being one of:

  • wrongful verdict of guilt
  • unfair penalty/sanction in light of the circumstances of the offences
  • substantive impropriety in that the appellant has been disciplined without reason

Should the employee wish to take the matter further, he or she is entitled to process it in terms of the Labour Relations Act or any other applicable legal avenue.

table42

Grounds for dismissal

The table above shows the numbers of, and reasons for, dismissal from the Company in 2012. This was the first year during which contractor dismissals were tracked based on the nature of the infringement.

Grievance procedure

The Company’s grievance procedure is intended to create an environment that is conducive to good employee relations by making it possible for the Company to take prompt and fair action when employees raise legitimate complaints. The two recognised types of grievance are:

  • The individual grievance, in which one person has a grievance.
  • The group grievance, in which more than one person has a grievance. 
    In this instance, the aggrieved group may select up to five representatives to raise the grievance with the immediate supervisor. Union members must select shop stewards as representatives. Employees who are not members of a union must select a representative from the group that has the grievance.

Individual and group grievances are treated in the same way, and the same procedure must be followed. Should a grievance remain unresolved, the final management authority within the hierarchy at the operating unit involved is allowed an opportunity to resolve and take a decision on the matter. Further to that, aggrieved parties may employ external dispute-resolution mechanisms regulated by legislation.