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. Unions represent approximately 40 percent of our workforce. 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 U.S. 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 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, the period 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 Solutions Tool, we investigated, substantiated and closed 98 cases of misconduct or inappropriate behavior that often involved issues between employees and their managers. Actions based on the investigations’ findings ranged from counseling to termination of the employees involved. During the year, there were also eight grievances or allegations from employees related to human rights submitted through and managed by our human resources function with support from other departments as necessary and 24 different allegations with human rights implications were tracked through the Ethics Solutions Tool, with issues ranging from allegations of discrimination based on gender or race to allegations of sexual harassment. Additional information about these allegations and outcomes is discussed in the Human Rights section of this report.
During the year, we reached new labor agreements with the two of the three unions that operate at our Yanacocha operation in Peru. These unions represent about 30 percent of our total workforce in Peru. In Ghana, we commenced discussions on a wage-adjustment framework for future labor contract negotiations, with the intention to apply the agreed-upon framework to the pay adjustment for 2018. We also agreed on a more collaborative engagement process going forward.
At Merian, we engaged with government labor inspectors during a mine tour and also met with inspectors to discuss workplace matters including 12-hour workdays and reporting on health, safety and employment data.
There were no strikes or lockouts at any of our operations in 2017.
We will continue to maintain positive and collaborative relationships with the unions that represent our employees. Our North America region will develop a strategy in preparation for the collective bargaining negotiations that will begin at the end of 2018. In Ghana, we will conclude the negotiations for the wage adjustment framework and apply it to adjusted wages for 2018.
To further foster a values-based workplace culture, we will encourage employees to participate in our new human rights training, and we will continue to reinforce our commitment to a respectful workplace through training and other programs.