In 2015 there were 1,342 BMSC employees in Eritrea and 17 Nevsun employees in Vancouver, Canada.
The gender composition of the mine workforce is approximately 78% male and 22% female. This is an annual increase of female employees by 10% since 2014. This change is a combination of male turnover and in some cases female replacements, an increase in workers for the zinc expansion project, and the efforts of the Bisha Training Center to further the career aspirations of local women. Women are employed in a variety of administrative, technical, and managerial functions and receive the same remuneration for the same positions as their male counterparts. In 2015, 31% of new employees (91) hired were women compared to men (205).
In 2014, all 1,342 BMSC employees received either a bi-annual performance review or an annual review if they were hired later in the year. This is consistent with efforts since 2014, the time in which bi-annual reviews were introduced across the BMSC workforce.
Full-time BMSC employees receive a suite of benefits to encourage productivity, professional development, and retention. These benefits are developed and maintained by Nevsun management and the BMSC Board and include above-average wages, medical services, long-term injury compensation, rotational leave, maternity leave, and professional development. An expanded description of these benefits is located on our website.
The Bisha Mine continues to experience a turnover rate for its workforce, of approximately 18%, or 241 individuals in 2015 (compared to 18% or 220 individuals, in 2014) which is considered average for a remote location. By gender, male turnover was 17%, and female turnover was 20%. In 2014 male turnover was 16% and female turnover was 26%. A morale survey was commissioned to address the turnover rate, especially of local employees. This will include (2016) ensuring a more quantifiable grid to align job duties and competencies to compensation across the operation, and a local roster system (1 week off for every 4 weeks worked) for all of the employees in the nearby villages. In addition, local employees that were bussed to work each day would have full access to the canteens that were previously reserved only for all workers that were living in camp accommodation on-site. The Company will continue to monitor the situation and is cognizant that there will be increased challenges with local retention as more mines begin operating in the country.
Many factors affect an employee’s decision to leave. Permanent (local Eritrean) employees may find better opportunities elsewhere, or they may prefer to work in less remote locations. Expatriate employees may seek career opportunities (pay or position) in a different geographical location, or may prefer to return to their country of residence. We also had 17 employees on maternity leave in 2015 of which 16 returned back to their post and one decided not to return for personal reasons (compared to 24 maternity leaves in 2014 with 21 returning back to their post). A portion of our turnover was due to productivity or performance concerns. Those released from their jobs were provided with severance packages as prescribed by Eritrean Labour Law. A total of 296 BMSC employees were hired in 2015 (compared to 262 in 2014); 69% male (78% in 2014) and 31% female (22% in 2014). One new employee (one male who replaced another male) was hired at corporate headquarters in 2015 (compared to two females and one male hired in 2014).
The Eritrean Federation of Workers wishes to proceed toward the unionization of the mining sector. A formal proposal will need to be developed and discussed with ENAMCO and the BMSC Board to consider the best way forward.
We have mechanisms in place to effectively and expediently address employee grievances, including an open door policy that enables employees to communicate their concerns directly to management. The Company will continue to monitor the effectiveness of our grievance processes and the expediency in which management responds to concerns. We have a confidential suggestion box where employees can submit comments and suggestions. These matters are addressed by onsite senior management.
Our Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees and others to raise concerns regarding accounting, internal accounting controls, auditing matters or violations or suspected violations of the Code of Ethics without fear of harassment, retaliation, or adverse employment consequences.
All submissions or complaints are handled on a confidential and anonymous basis. Anonymous communications are documented and received by an independent third-party. All BMSC employees are made aware of these grievance mechanisms during their induction process, and through BMSC Human Resources. Additionally, each employee is provided with a business card indicative of the Whistleblower contact information in English and the local language. This is further supplemented by Whistleblower Policy posters placed throughout the Bisha Mine and the Asmara office.