Protecting workers rights and providing a safe and respectful workplace free from discrimination, harassment and violence are vital for maintaining a competitive advantage through our people.
Our Code of Conduct (the “Code”) and People Policy guide our approach and detail our commitment to protecting our employees and their rights. Supporting this Code and policy are our global standards on Employment; Compensation and Benefits; Global Inclusion and Diversity; Labor Relations; Conduct and Non-Discrimination; and Talent and Performance Management.
We recognize and respect our employees’ right to join a union and engage in collective bargaining without interference or fear of retaliation. With around half of our workforce represented by a union, bargaining unit or workplace agreement, unions are key business partners. Through ongoing engagement with all the unions that represent our employees, we aim to avoid labor unrest and work stoppages that can cost our business and create distrust. We have collective bargaining agreements (covering wages, benefits and other employment terms) with unions in Australia, Ghana, Peru and the United States. During contract negotiations, guidelines help regions balance the interests of represented employees with those of the business. Our overall goal is to evolve the collective bargaining negotiation process to one based on collaboration.
Newmont commits to a timely disclosure of significant operational changes to all employees. Of our seven operations with collective bargaining agreements, the minimum notice period for communicating operational changes is four weeks at three of our sites. The minimum notice period at Ahafo and Akyem in Ghana is seven days for operational changes and three months for a reduction in workforce, and at Tanami in Australia, it is one to four weeks, depending on the worker’s length of service. Yanacocha does not have a minimum notice period requirement.
Concerns about workers rights can be raised through our site-based complaints and grievances (C&G) mechanism and registers, our online Ethics Solutions Tool, or a manager or human resources representative.
Through the Ethics Solution Tool, in 2016 we investigated 109 substantiated cases of misconduct or inappropriate behavior that often involved issues between employees and their managers. These cases include issues raised in Indonesia, prior to our divestiture of the Batu Hijau mine. Actions based on the investigations’ findings ranged from counseling to termination of the employees involved. There were also eight grievances or allegations related to human rights submitted through and managed by our human resources function with support from other functions as necessary. Additional information about these allegations and outcomes is discussed in the Human Rights section of this report.
We experienced many changes in our workforce during the year with the divestiture of our Batu Hijau operation in Indonesia and entering commercial production at Merian in Suriname and Long Canyon in Nevada.
During the year, we reached a three-year agreement with the union covering approximately 1,600 hourly employees at our Carlin operation in Nevada. In Ghana, where our collective bargaining agreements with the union representing employees at Ahafo and Akyem expired in 2014, we concluded 2015 wage negotiations in early 2016 and agreed on a more collaborative engagement process going forward. Negotiations relating to 2016 wages were ongoing as of the end of 2016. In Peru, we signed a three-year collective bargaining agreement with one of the two unions (SINDEMY) representing Yanacocha employees, and we entered arbitration with the other union (SITRACOMY) that resulted in acceptance of a one-year proposal.
Despite a prolonged negotiation process in Ghana, there were no strikes or lockouts at any of our operations in 2016.
We seek to maintain positive and collaborative relationships with the unions that represent our employees. In Ghana, we will negotiate agreements for conditions of service over the next three years and on a wage-adjustment framework for future labor contract negotiations. In Peru, we will work toward negotiating a multi-year agreement with SITRACOMY to provide greater certainty and stability for both the business and our workers.